from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to rivers

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to, connected with, or dependent on rivers.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From potam- + -ic.


  • Thus, with Metschnikoff we recognise the succession of potamic, thalassic, and oceanic civilisations; with Reclus we see the regular distribution of minor and major towns to have been largely influenced not only by geographical position but by convenient journey distances.

    Civics: as Applied Sociology

  • That night I head to the pulsing potamic souq, more unruly and wanton than the counterpart in Cairo, where the shopkeepers hustle visitors like dice, shaking and prodding until the right answer rolls.

    The Full Feed from


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  • Interesting, c_b. I would have guessed that usage would be much older. Now I'm wondering about hippopotamus. Must go look up when that came into common usage...

    Edit: About 1300, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

    March 7, 2008

  • Yes, I knew Potomac was an Algonquin name, that's why I thought the similarity was so striking. It seems like this word must really be much older. Mesopotamia makes sense.

    Edit: says "Origin: 1880–85; < Gk potam(ós) river + -ic." Not as old as I thought. OED says 1883, derived from Greek but of uncertain origin.

    And I wonder about potable now. Here's that word's etymology, acc. to OED:

    < Middle French, French potable fit or suitable for drinking (late 13th cent. in Old French) and its etymon post-classical Latin potabilis drinkable (4th cent.) < classical Latin ptre to drink (see POTATION n.) + -bilis -BLE suffix. Cf. Catalan potable (1460), Spanish potable (1424 or earlier), Italian potabile (late 15th or early 16th cent.).

    March 6, 2008

  • My guess is that it and Mesopotamia have something in common. :-) My other guess is that since Potomac comes from an Algonquin Indian word, any similarity is probably just a coincidence...

    March 6, 2008

  • Really? Wow! I had no idea this word existed. I wonder how/when/why it was coined, and why it is so close to "Potomac."

    March 6, 2008

  • adj: of or pertaining to rivers

    March 6, 2008