• synonyms


See more synonyms for estuary on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural es·tu·ar·ies.
  1. that part of the mouth or lower course of a river in which the river's current meets the sea's tide.
  2. an arm or inlet of the sea at the lower end of a river.
Show More

Origin of estuary

1530–40; < Latin aestuārium channel, creek, inlet, equivalent to aestu(s) tide + -ārium -ary
Related formses·tu·ar·i·al [es-choo-air-ee-uh l] /ˌɛs tʃuˈɛər i əl/, adjective
Can be confuseddelta estuary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for estuary

inlet, waterway, fjord, creek, arm, tidewater, firth

Examples from the Web for estuary

Contemporary Examples of estuary

Historical Examples of estuary

  • Over the estuary of the Rhine River Stan met his first flak.

  • It was raw and damp as we rowed into the estuary at sunrise in search of the seals.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • By three o'clock they had left the estuary of the Seine and entered the Channel.

    The Blonde Lady

    Maurice Leblanc

  • The topsail and jib were spread, and the sloop glided out of the estuary.

  • It is across this estuary that the lower bridge has been built.

    Grey Town

    Gerald Baldwin

British Dictionary definitions for estuary


noun plural -aries
  1. the widening channel of a river where it nears the sea, with a mixing of fresh water and salt (tidal) water
  2. an inlet of the sea
Show More
Derived Formsestuarial (ˌɛstjʊˈɛərɪəl), adjective

Word Origin for estuary

C16: from Latin aestuārium marsh, channel, from aestus tide, billowing movement, related to aestās summer
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 estuary


1530s, from Latin aestuarium "a tidal marsh or opening," from aestus "boiling (of the sea), tide, heat," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice). Related: Estuaries; estuarine.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

estuary in Science


  1. The wide lower course of a river where it flows into the sea. Estuaries experience tidal flows and their water is a changing mixture of fresh and salt.
  2. An arm of the sea that extends inland to meet the mouth of a river.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

estuary in Culture



A wide body of water formed where a large river meets the sea. It contains both fresh and salt water.

Show More
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.