View synonyms for river



[ riv-er ]


  1. a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definite course or channel or series of diverging and converging channels.
  2. a similar stream of something other than water: a river of ice.

    a river of lava;

    a river of ice.

  3. any abundant stream or copious flow; outpouring: rivers of words.

    rivers of tears;

    rivers of words.

  4. River, Astronomy. the constellation Eridanus.
  5. Printing. a vertical channel of white space resulting from the alignment in several lines of spaces between words.



[ rahy-ver ]


  1. a person who rives.


/ ˈrɪvə /


    1. a large natural stream of fresh water flowing along a definite course, usually into the sea, being fed by tributary streams
    2. ( as modifier )

      river traffic

      a river basin

    3. ( in combination ) fluvialpotamic



  1. any abundant stream or flow

    a river of blood

  2. sell down the river informal.
    to deceive or betray
  3. the river slang.
    poker the fifth and final community card to be dealt in a round of Texas hold 'em


/ rĭvər /

  1. A wide, natural stream of fresh water that flows into an ocean or other large body of water and is usually fed by smaller streams, called tributaries, that enter it along its course. A river and its tributaries form a drainage basin, or watershed, that collects the runoff throughout the region and channels it along with erosional sediments toward the river. The sediments are typically deposited most heavily along the river's lower course, forming floodplains along its banks and a delta at its mouth.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈriverless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • river·less adjective
  • river·like adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of river1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English river(e), rever(e), from Old French rivere, riviere, from unattested Vulgar Latin rīpāria, noun use of feminine of Latin rīpārius riparian

Origin of river2

First recorded in 1450–1500; rive + -er 1
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Word History and Origins

Origin of river1

C13: from Old French riviere , from Latin rīpārius of a river bank, from rīpa bank
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. sell down the river, to betray; deceive; double-cross:

    to sell one's friends down the river.

  2. up the river, Slang.
    1. to prison:

      to be sent up the river for a bank robbery.

    2. in prison:

      Thirty years up the river had made him a stranger to society.

More idioms and phrases containing river

see sell down the river ; up the river .
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Example Sentences

Swollen rivers carried sediment downstream, depositing it along the way.

All of us on the river accepted that our water would likely be boiling in our bottles and our beers would be sandy and warm—until someone showed up with this hauler, that is.

They include soil erosion on the river side — in some areas gaps up to three feet wide and waist deep, concrete cracking, construction flaws and what the firm concluded was likely substandard construction material below the fence’s foundation.

Tracing a distinct U shape across northeast Ohio, the 100-mile-long river flows into Lake Erie 30 miles west of its headwaters.

The university moved construction equipment into to build a stadium and start construction on the river park.

He observes the bodies floating away on the river, pulling on his cigarette with a sneer.

But you know, I had only one other hero in my life acting and that was River [Phoenix].

Today, the train chugs north out of Kanchanaburi over the famous bridge before it hits a spectacular bend in the river.

The film helps to draw scores of visitors to this sleepy river town year after year.

And then, on one recent morning, the train made a stop at a small station near an especially beautiful section of the river.

This city stands upon almost two equal parts on each side the river that passes through.

In this position, the line of cavalry formed the chord of the arc described by the river, and occupied by us.

Dick was at the wharf, one day last week, when one of the up river boats arrived.

San Antonio de Bexar lies in a fertile and well-irrigated valley, stretching westward from the river Salado.

The riches of the unjust shall be dried up like a river, and shall pass away with a noise like a great thunder in rain.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.