noun, often attributive
riv·​er | \ ˈri-vər How to pronounce river (audio) \

Definition of river

1a : a natural stream of water of usually considerable volume
2a : something resembling a river a river of lava
b rivers plural : large or overwhelming quantities drank rivers of coffee
up the river
: to or in prison was sent up the river

Examples of river in a Sentence

The raft is too small to use on this part of the river. Rivers of mud flowed down the hillside.

Recent Examples on the Web

The dead zone is connected to runoff from one of the largest rivers in the world, the Mississippi. Jen Christensen, CNN, "The Gulf could see one of the largest dead zones in history this year," 10 June 2019 Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Jim Mustian, BostonGlobe.com, "One person killed in helicopter crash landing in Manhattan," 10 June 2019 Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Jim Mustian, Anchorage Daily News, "Helicopter crashes on roof of NYC skyscraper; pilot killed," 10 June 2019 For instance, Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark has 15 water features, including the longest beachfront lazy river in town and water slides to keep every member of the family cool. Jennifer Franklin, USA TODAY, "8 Myrtle Beach activities that your family (and wallet) will love," 7 June 2019 Here in Orlando, there’s no river of cheese just yet (my money’s on Epcot if anyone’s taking bets), but there are myriad options for celebrating National Cheese Day today, June 4. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Myriad options await National Cheese Day revelers in Central Florida," 4 June 2019 Not the Mekong, the longest river in Southeast Asia. Jon Swain, WSJ, "‘The Last Days of the Mighty Mekong’ Review: A River’s Own Long Journey," 3 May 2019 The hotel’s ice is harvested from the river in March and stored until construction starts in October when the air is cool enough to keep the ice intact. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "The Icehotel is back and as fantastical as ever," 20 Dec. 2018 Luang Prabang, the famous town between two rivers in Laos, full of monks and teak houses and coffee shops and hippies. Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor's Letter: The Hotels, Islands, and Cruises to Watch in 2019," 18 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'river.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of river

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for river

Middle English rivere, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *riparia, from Latin, feminine of riparius riparian, from ripa bank, shore; perhaps akin to Greek ereipein to tear down

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Dictionary Entries near river





river's mouth



Statistics for river

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for river

The first known use of river was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for river



English Language Learners Definition of river

: a large natural flow of water that crosses an area of land and goes into an ocean, a lake, etc.
: a large flow of something


riv·​er | \ ˈri-vər How to pronounce river (audio) \

Kids Definition of river

1 : a natural stream of water larger than a brook or creek
2 : a large stream or flow a river of mud

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More from Merriam-Webster on river

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with river

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for river

Spanish Central: Translation of river

Nglish: Translation of river for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of river for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about river

Comments on river

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having a desire to acquire more things

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