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  1. a small rivulet or brook.
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Origin of rill1

1530–40; < Dutch or Low German; compare Frisian ril


or rille

noun Astronomy.
  1. any of certain long, narrow, straight or sinuous trenches or valleys observed on the surface of the moon.
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Origin of rill2

1885–90; < German Rille; see rill1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rill


  1. a brook or stream; rivulet
  2. a small channel or gulley, such as one formed during soil erosion
  3. Also: rille one of many winding cracks on the moon
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Word Origin

C15: from Low German rille; related to Dutch ril
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 rill


"small brook, rivulet," 1530s, from or related to Dutch and Frisian ril, Low German rille "groove, furrow, running stream," probably from Proto-Germanic *ril- (cf. Old English rið, riþe "brook, stream," which survives only in dialects), a diminutive form from PIE root *reie- "to run, flow" (see Rhine).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper