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 current flag of Montana features the state seal -- which includes mountains, plains, forests, a river, a plow, a pick and a shovel -- against a blue background with the name of the state in yellow lettering. Iris Samuels, USA TODAY, "'Who doesn’t want to have a great gun flag?': Republican wanted to add firearms to Montana state flag," 29 Mar. 2021 Desperate migrants brave perilous river, ocean and desert crossings to reach the United States. BostonGlobe.com, "9-year-old migrant girl dies trying to cross Rio Grande into US," 26 Mar. 2021 In the Lower Park, hike-in campsites, access to the river, outdoor classrooms and interpretative features are planned, including an interpretative center. Erin Adler, Star Tribune, "Dakota County park plans to preserve Native American history," 25 Mar. 2021 What river, which forms a natural border between Mexico and the U.S., has seen an increase in migrants trying to cross the border illegally? CNN, "CNN 10 - March 19, 2021," 19 Mar. 2021 The resort is smack dab on a white sand beach and has tons of amenities like its pool, lazy river, hot tubs, decks with incredible views, and a sauna and steam room. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "These Colorful Vacation Rentals Are Perfect for Your Own 'Barb and Star' Beach Trip," 14 Mar. 2021 Such nuance is often lost on residents living in wards 7 and 8, the east-of-the-river communities where violent crime is most acute. Washington Post, "District’s new police chief is rethinking unit focused on gun seizures," 11 Mar. 2021 Other funnels that produce consistently are ridge saddles (hogsbacks), benches, creek or fence crossings, beaver ponds, lake-and-river edges, and brushy fence lines in farm country. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "Hang the Perfect Treestand Now for Big Bucks Later," 10 Mar. 2021 That experience provided him with a background of expertise for the river’s plight, including the environmental harm arising from the Rodman Dam constructed in the 1960s. Kevin Spear, orlandosentinel.com, "Rodman Dam dangers hidden by authorities, Ocala lawyer asserts," 10 Mar. 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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“River.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/river. Accessed 12 Apr. 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

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Comments on river

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