• synonyms


[uh-loo-vee-uh m]
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noun, plural al·lu·vi·ums, al·lu·vi·a [uh-loo-vee-uh] /əˈlu vi ə/.
  1. a deposit of sand, mud, etc., formed by flowing water.
  2. the sedimentary matter deposited thus within recent times, especially in the valleys of large rivers.
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Origin of alluvium

1655–65; < Latin, noun use of neuter of alluvius washed against, equivalent to alluv- (see alluvion) + -ius, -ium adj. suffix; see -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

goo, silt, slime, muck, sludge, gunk, land, dirt, terrain, shore, surface, coast, mud, clay, dust, turf, gravel, sand, mire, fluid

Examples from the Web for alluvia

Historical Examples

  • The source of the elements which compose the Pampean alluvia is very uncertain.

    The Argentine Republic

    Pierre Denis

  • It was only in the extra-glacial tracts that alluvia of interglacial age were at all likely to be preserved in any abundance.

  • Hence, I believe that some of our so-called “post-glacial” alluvia will eventually be assigned to an interglacial horizon.

  • Then comes the Negro down in the alluvia, with dark skin, woolly hair, and prognathous development.

  • We see clearly the alluvia of two streams converging from right and left, and uniting to pass to the sea through Brading Harbour.

British Dictionary definitions for alluvia


noun plural -viums or -via (-vɪə)
  1. a fine-grained fertile soil consisting of mud, silt, and sand deposited by flowing water on flood plains, in river beds, and in estuaries
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin; see alluvion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for alluvia



"matter deposited by flowing water," 1660s, from Medieval Latin alluvium, neuter of alluvius "washed against," from Latin alluere "wash against," from ad- "to, against" (see ad-) + -luere, comb. form of lavere "to wash" (see lave).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alluvia in Science


Plural alluviums alluvia
  1. Sand, silt, clay, gravel, or other matter deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, floodplain, delta, or alluvial fan. Alluvium is generally considered a young deposit in terms of geologic time.
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Related formsalluvial adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.