Rio Grande

[ ree-oh grand, gran-dee, grahn-dey for 1; Portuguese ree-oo-grahn-di for 2, 3 ]
/ ˈri oʊ ˈgrænd, ˈgræn di, ˈgrɑn deɪ for 1; Portuguese ˌri ʊ ˈgrɑ̃ dɪ for 2, 3 /
Save This Word!

Mexican Rio Bravo. a river flowing from SW Colorado through central New Mexico and along the boundary between Texas and Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico. 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long.
a river flowing W from SE Brazil into the Paraná River. 650 miles (1,050 km) long.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Other definitions for Rio Grande (2 of 2)

Río Grande
[ ree-oh grahn-dey, -dee; Spanish ree-aw grahn-de ]
/ ˈri oʊ ˈgrɑn deɪ, -di; Spanish ˈri ɔ ˈgrɑn dɛ /

a city in NE Puerto Rico.
a river in central Nicaragua, flowing NE to the Caribbean Sea. About 200 miles (320 km) long.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does Rio Grande mean?

Rio Grande, which means “big river” in Spanish, is the name given to a large river located in North America.

The Rio Grande flows from southwestern Colorado through New Mexico and along the border between Texas and Mexico and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. In Mexico, this river is called Río Bravo, which is Spanish for “rough river.”

Rio Grande is the name of a river located in south central Brazil and of a port city located along this river in the Brazilian state of Río Grande do Sol.

Example: My favorite vacation was when we went kayaking on the Rio Grande.

Where does Rio Grande come from?

It is thought that the name Rio Grande for the large river was first used by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate, who crossed part of the river in 1598. Prior to de Oñate, this river was referred to by the Pueblo people as Posoge, meaning “big river.” Earlier Spanish explorers used a variety of names to refer to the river, including Río de Nuestra Señora by Hernando de Alvarado in 1540 and Río del Norte by Antonio de Espejo in 1582.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the Rio Grande is tied for the fourth longest river in the United States with the Saint Lawrence River at 1,900 miles. The Rio Grande is recognized as the official boundary between the American state of Texas and the nation of Mexico as was established in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed in 1848.

Use of the water of the Rio Grande is divided between the United States and Mexico. In 1944, a treaty was signed between the two countries to determine the status of the water flowing on the Mexican-American border. Today, this treaty still dictates who gets access to the water and when.

Did you know ... ?

What are some words that often get used in discussing Rio Grande?

How is Rio Grande used in real life?

The Rio Grande is a major part of the geography of the United States and Mexico.



Try using Rio Grande!

True or False?

Rio Grande means “small river.”

How to use Rio Grande in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Rio Grande

Rio Grande

(ˈriːəʊ ˈɡrænd, ˈɡrændɪ) a river in North America, rising in SW Colorado and flowing southeast to the Gulf of Mexico, forming the border between the US and Mexico. Length: about 3030 km (1885 miles)Mexican name: Río Bravo
(Portuguese ˈriu ˈɡrəndi) a port in SE Brazil, in SE Rio Grande do Sul state: serves as the port for Porto Alegre. Pop: 188 000 (2005 est)
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

Cultural definitions for Rio Grande

Rio Grande
[ (ree-oh grand, gran-dee) ]

River running east from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, dividing the United States from Mexico.

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.