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 Many such neighborhoods were clustered along the river. Sarah Bowman, IndyStar, "The White River: Cleanup follows decades of civil rights abuses. Now who will benefit?," 2 May 2020 Book a room at The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Waterfront, and take a stroll along the river. Claire Trageser, Travel + Leisure, "The 50 Best Romantic Getaways," 28 Apr. 2020 Effluent from industrial activity along the river, running from Akron, Ohio, to Cleveland, had provided fuel for more than a dozen fires since the mid-19th century and killed off the waterway’s fish. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "How the Environment Has Changed since the First Earth Day 50 Years Ago," 22 Apr. 2020 And so the Left began to fish in its favorite raging river, chaos. Itxu Díaz, National Review, "Coronavirus Is Forcing Europe to Rediscover Civil Society," 2 Apr. 2020 As one scrolls through her river of photos and videos, more than a thousand in all, the hands become alien and abstracted things, creatures that exist independently of the bodies that bear them. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Anxious Hands of New York’s Subway Riders in the Face of the Coronavirus," 14 Mar. 2020 Their rivers were choked with rotting animal carcasses, garbage, and sewage. Paul Nicklen, National Geographic, "When will trainers stop drugging racehorses?," 12 Mar. 2020 Countless bags end up littering our communities and polluting our rivers. Sharon Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "If you live in Cincinnati, you may soon say goodbye to single-use plastic bags," 9 Mar. 2020 Flying along the Evros river to inspect the situation on the Greek-Turkish border along with PM @kmitsotakis, @EP_President David Sassoli, @eucopresident Charles Michel and PM @AndrejPlenkovic. Paul Tugwell, Bloomberg.com, "EU Gives $780 Million to Help Greece Stop Migrants at Border," 3 Mar. 2020

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

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“River.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/river. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for river


How to pronounce river (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for river

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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