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 To get a taste of the Colorado, head to Arizona and run the relatively mild 15-mile section of the river from Glen Canyon to Lees Ferry. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, "The 7 Best Kayaking Trips in the U.S. for Adventure Seekers," 9 May 2021 On the banks of the river, migrants shivered as two Texas State Troopers watched closely, waiting for the U.S. Border Patrol. Dallas News, "Some are welcomed, most turned away, as haphazard immigration policies play out along the border," 8 May 2021 Wenonah nearly nonstop and as fast as possible the entire 2,300-plus miles of the river. Bob Timmons, Star Tribune, "Paddling down the Mississippi, looking to set a record," 6 May 2021 Park East developments east of the river include Milwaukee School of Engineering's parking structure and soccer field and Avenir apartments. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An apartment building and hotel are planned for downtown's Park East strip. They would use the last site owned by Milwaukee County.," 5 May 2021 The Caswell Nature Trail is 1.3 miles and takes you along the banks of the river and gives you a view of a Civilian Conservation Corps dam that was constructed in the 1930s. Peter Rasmussen, San Antonio Express-News, "10 bucket-list hikes in the San Antonio area," 3 May 2021 In the audio, there’s the sound of the river, the jingle of Banana’s collar, birdsong and the hum of traffic in the distance. New York Times, "From Claire Rousay, Field Recordings for a Modern World," 3 May 2021 Swaths of prairie land would connect to the base of the bridge on each side of the river. Bill Ruthhart, chicagotribune.com, "Bison roaming a bridge over the Mississippi River? ‘Crazy’ idea for national park near Quad Cities gains momentum," 29 Apr. 2021 The acquisition helps protect the largest remaining undeveloped area around the headwaters of the river, officials said. BostonGlobe.com, "New England news in brief," 24 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for river

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for river

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“River.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/river. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on river

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