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See more synonyms for Columbia on Thesaurus.com
  1. a river in SW Canada and the NW United States, flowing S and W from SE British Columbia through Washington along the boundary between Washington and Oregon and into the Pacific. 1214 miles (1955 km) long.
  2. Cape, a cape on the N coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, in the Arctic Ocean: northernmost point of Canada.
  3. a city in and the capital of South Carolina, in the central part.
  4. a city in central Missouri.
  5. a city in central Maryland.
  6. a city in central Tennessee.
  7. a city in SE Pennsylvania.
  8. Literary. the United States of America.
  9. one of an American breed of large sheep, developed by crossbreeding the Lincoln and Rambouillet, noted for its good market lambs and heavy fleece of medium length.
  10. (italics) U.S. Aerospace. the first space shuttle to orbit and return to earth.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for columbia river


  1. a river in NW North America, rising in the Rocky Mountains and flowing through British Columbia, then west to the Pacific. Length: about 1930 km (1200 miles)
  2. a city in central South Carolina, on the Congaree River: the state capital. Pop: 117 357 (2003 est)
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  1. the first test vehicle of the NASA space shuttle fleet to prove the possibility of routine access to space for scientific and commercial ventures
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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 columbia river


poetic name for United States of America, earlier for the British colonies there, 1730s, also the nation's female personification, from name of Christopher Columbus (also see Colombia) with Latin "country" ending -ia. A popular name for places and institutions in the U.S. in the post-Revolutionary years, when former tributes to king and crown were out of fashion: e.g. Columbia University (New York, U.S.) founded in 1754 as King's College; re-named 1784. Also District of Columbia (1791, as Territory of Columbia); "Hail, Columbia" (Joseph Hopkinson, 1798), Barlow's "Columbiad" (1809).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

columbia river in Culture

Columbia River

River that runs from British Columbia, Canada, to the Pacific Ocean and passes between Oregon and Washington.

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Known for its great salmon runs in spring.


The site of the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.