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 Also to be sent are 18 U.S. coastal and river patrol boats. David Keyton, John Leicester, Anchorage Daily News, 26 June 2022 Portland’s penchant for protests moved from its streets Friday evening to its river Saturday. oregonlive, 25 June 2022 With the river’s depleted reservoirs sinking to new lows, the Interior Department is seeking emergency cuts. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2022 The body of Nylo Lattimore was never recovered – even after a search of 180 miles of the Ohio River, although police say the child's blood was found on a blanket recovered with his mother’s body and his stroller was found in the river nearby. Julia Musto, Fox News, 25 June 2022 According to Baird, public health officials in coordination with the Coconino County Health and Human Services Department and the CDC tested fecal samples for the presence of norovirus on eight infected river trips. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 24 June 2022 Those buildings [in Afghanistan] are built out of river rocks mortared together—those are going to fall down at intensity 6. Sasha Warren, Scientific American, 24 June 2022 Co-author John Wilkinson, who is also at the University of York, further noted that Lahore, Pakistan had the most polluted river system. Anuradha Varanasi, Forbes, 24 June 2022 So, The Cincinnati Enquirer is profiling eight of those women, some who are contributing to the inaugural event Sept. 5-11 at Kenwood Country Club and some who have opened doors to golf opportunities elsewhere around the river. Sara Tidwell, The Enquirer, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near river



river's mouth

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Statistics for river

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“River.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/river. Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for river


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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