[ ploo-vee-uh l ]
/ ˈplu vi əl /


of or relating to rain, especially much rain; rainy.
Geology. occurring through the action of rain.


Geology. a rainy period formerly regarded as coeval with a glacial age, but now recognized as episodic and, in the tropics, as characteristic of interglacial ages.

Origin of pluvial

1650–60; < Latin pluviālis, equivalent to pluvi(a) rain + -ālis -al1
Related formsin·ter·plu·vi·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pluvial

British Dictionary definitions for pluvial


/ (ˈpluːvɪəl) /


of, characterized by, or due to the action of rain; rainypluvial insurance


geology of or relating to rainfall or precipitation
a climate characterized by persistent heavy rainfall, esp one occurring in unglaciated regions during the Pleistocene epoch

Word Origin for pluvial

C17: from Latin pluviālis rainy, from pluvia rain
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 pluvial



1650s, "pertaining to rain," from French pluvial (12c.), from Latin pluvialis "pertaining to rain, rainy, rain-bringing," from (aqua) pluvia "rain (water)," from fem. of pluvius "rainy," from plovere "to rain," from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, to swim" (cf. Sanskrit plavate "navigates, swims;" Greek plynein "to wash," plein "to navigate," ploein "to float, swim," plotos "floating, navigable;" Armenian luanam "I wash;" Old English flowan "to flow;" Old Church Slavonic plovo "to flow, navigate;" Lithuanian pilu, pilti "to pour out," plauju, plauti "to swim, rinse").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for pluvial


[ plōōvē-əl ]

Relating to or caused by rain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.