from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large natural stream of water emptying into an ocean, lake, or other body of water and usually fed along its course by converging tributaries.
  • n. A stream or abundant flow: a river of tears.
  • idiom up the river Slang In or into prison.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large and often winding stream which drains a land mass, carrying water down from higher areas to a lower point, ending at an ocean or in an inland sea. Occasionally rivers overflow their banks and cause floods.
  • n. Any large flow of a liquid in a single body (e.g., 'a river of blood').
  • n. The last card dealt in a hand.
  • v. To improve one’s hand to beat another player on the final card in a poker game.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who rives or splits.
  • n. A large stream of water flowing in a bed or channel and emptying into the ocean, a sea, a lake, or another stream; a stream larger than a rivulet or brook.
  • n. Fig.: A large stream; copious flow; abundance.
  • intransitive v. To hawk by the side of a river; to fly hawks at river fowl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who rives or splits.
  • n. A considerable body of water flowing with a perceptible current in a certain definite course or channel, and usually without cessation during the entire year.
  • n. In law, a stream of flowing water, of greater magnitude than a rivulet or brook.
  • n. A large stream; copious flow; abundance: as, rivers of oil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a large natural stream of water (larger than a creek)


Middle English rivere, from Anglo-Norman, from Vulgar Latin *rīpāria, from Latin, feminine of rīpārius, of a bank, from rīpa, bank.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman rivere, from Old French riviere, from Vulgar Latin *riparia ("riverbank, seashore, river"), from Latin riparius ("of a riverbank"), from riparia ("shore"), from ripa ("river bank"), from Proto-Indo-European *rei- (“to scratch, tear, cut”). (Wiktionary)



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  • My house backs against the hill's foot where it descends from the town to the river. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008