tributary

noun
trib·​u·​tary | \ ˈtri-byə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce tributary (audio) \
plural tributaries

Definition of tributary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

tributary

adjective

Definition of tributary (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for tributary

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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.

Examples of tributary in a Sentence

Noun one of the river's tributaries This stream is a tributary of the Ohio River.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The tiniest West Virginia tributary of the Shenandoah or Potomac eventually finds its way to the bay, as does all that flows into Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 Miller Road, the city’s main drag, parallels a 33-mile tributary to the south, also named Swartz Creek. Joseph Jaafari, Rolling Stone, 9 Apr. 2021 On Tuesday morning, a Nottingham Creek tributary in Beverly Hills turned bright green after officials conducted a dye test to locate sewer leaks. Slone Terranella, Detroit Free Press, 22 Dec. 2020 All of the Maryland tributary areas received a B or B-, with the exception of the Choptank River region, which received a C+. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 22 June 2021 Water is soothing to me, and the Inn is located on the placid Miles river, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Margie Goldsmith, Forbes, 10 June 2021 The mine discharges into an unnamed tributary to Texas Creek, which flows into Davis Creek in Tuscaloosa County before entering the Black Warrior River near Holt Lake. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, 19 May 2021 Aquia Creek — after which this particular kind of sandstone takes its name — is a tidal tributary of the Potomac about 40 miles south of D.C. Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2021 And one such place was Colombia’s Bita River, a major tributary of the Orinoco River. Jeff Opperman, Forbes, 26 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His vehicle then entered Manix Wash, a 2.5 mile-long tributary stream of the Mojave River in San Bernardino County, and went airborne before colliding with the wash's concrete wall, according to the local outlet. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, 27 May 2021 The Monterey County Sheriff's Office ordered an evacuation for Tassajara Road northwest to China Camp Campground, including tributary Forest Routes and the Tassajara Zen Center. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 June 2021 The tributary muscle car, though road legal, has been extensively tuned to go well with the dynamics of a track. Kyle Edward, Forbes, 10 June 2021 From Lewis Smith, heavy rains have muddied the tributary rivers and raised the lake level, putting some bass into brushy flats where they can be caught on bladed swimbaits and squarebills. Frank Sargeant, al, 7 May 2021 After knocking his tee shot into the tributary Sunday that feeds into Rae’s Creek, Horschel tried to hit it out. Tim Reynolds, ajc, 11 Apr. 2021 After knocking his tee shot into the tributary Sunday that feeds into Rae's Creek, Horschel tried to hit it out. Tim Reynolds, Star Tribune, 11 Apr. 2021 But Zack Kelleher, riverkeeper for the Sassafras, a Chesapeake Bay tributary south of Conowingo, called the FERC’s decision particularly disappointing given the number of groups that advocated for stricter provisions. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2021 But Zack Kelleher, riverkeeper for the Sassafras, a Chesapeake Bay tributary south of Conowingo, called FERC’s particularly disappointing given the number of groups that advocated for stricter provisions. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 26 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of tributary

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for tributary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tributary

Last Updated

14 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tributary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tributary. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for tributary

tributary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tributary

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

tributary

noun
trib·​u·​tary | \ ˈtri-byə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce tributary (audio) \
plural tributaries

Kids Definition of tributary

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

tributary

noun
trib·​u·​tary | \ ˈtrib-yə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce tributary (audio) \
plural tributaries

Medical Definition of tributary

: a vein that empties into a larger vein

More from Merriam-Webster on tributary

Nglish: Translation of tributary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tributary

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