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tributary

noun trib·u·tary \ ˈtri-byə-ˌter-ē \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of tributary

plural tributaries
1 : a stream feeding a larger stream or a lake
2 : a ruler or state that pays tribute to a conqueror

Examples of tributary in a Sentence

  1. one of the river's tributaries

  2. This stream is a tributary of the Ohio River.

Recent Examples of tributary from the Web

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

Did You Know?

A tributary was originally a person or state that owed tribute to a more powerful person or state. Ancient China, for instance, had dozens of tributary states, and the emperor would receive elephants from Siam or young girls from Korea as tribute. Just as a smaller power gave some of its wealth to a larger power, a small river contributes its waters to a larger one. A tributary can be a tiny stream, but some are immense rivers. The Missouri River, for example, could be called a tributary to the Mississippi, even though it's about 2,500 miles long and receives hundreds of tributaries itself.

First Known Use of tributary

14th century

tributary Synonyms


2

tributary

adjective

Definition of tributary

1 : paying tribute to another to acknowledge submission, to obtain protection, or to purchase peace : subject
2 : paid or owed as tribute
  • tributary gifts
3 : channeling material or supplies into something more inclusive : contributory

Recent Examples of tributary from the Web

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

First Known Use of tributary

14th century


TRIBUTARY Defined for English Language Learners

tributary

noun

Definition of tributary for English Language Learners

  • : a stream that flows into a larger stream or river or into a lake


TRIBUTARY Defined for Kids

tributary

noun trib·u·tary \ ˈtri-byə-ˌter-ē \

Definition of tributary for Students

plural tributaries
: a stream flowing into a larger stream or a lake
  • The river has several tributaries.

Medical Dictionary

tributary

noun trib·u·tary \ ˈtrib-yə-ˌter-ē \

medical Definition of tributary

plural tributaries
: a vein that empties into a larger vein


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