[ streem ]
/ strim /
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See synonyms for: stream / streaming / streams on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
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The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Idioms about stream

    on stream, in or into operation: The factory will be on stream in a month.

Origin of stream

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun streem, streme, Old English strēam; cognate with German Strom, Old Norse straumr; akin to Greek rheîn “to flow”; verb derivative of the noun; see rheum

synonym study for stream

Stream, current refer to a steady flow. In this use they are interchangeable. In the sense of running water, however, a stream is a flow that may be as small as a brook or as large as a river: A number of streams have their sources in mountains. Current refers to the most rapidly moving part of the stream: This river has a swift current.



brook, creek, river, stream
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of stream?

A stream is a small river, a continuous flow, or a flow of data over the internet. Stream has several other senses as a noun and a verb.

Like a river, a stream is a body of water that flows from one source and ends by emptying into a larger body of water or a water basin. When it comes to rivers and streams, there is no official measurement used to separate them. Generally, a stream is considered to be smaller than a river, but even official organizations concerned with geography sometimes use both terms to refer to the same body of water.

  • Real-life examples: The United States has millions of miles of streams. Streams play an important part in nature because they deliver water or offer shelter to plants, fish, and other aquatic animals. You might have a stream near you that is home to fish or other aquatic life.
  • Used in a sentence: We saw a small fish jump out of the stream. 

The word stream is used more generally to mean a flow of anything, not just water. One sense of the noun streamer is something that streams, such as a flame.

  • Real-life examples: A stream of tears might flow out of your eyes if you hit your thumb with a hammer. You might hear about a stream of wind during a weather forecast. Department stores often get a stream of customers during the holidays.
  • Used in a sentence: Luckily, the doctor quickly stopped the stream of blood coming from my leg.

In this same sense, stream is used as a verb to mean to flow like water, literally or figuratively.

  • Used in a sentence: Milk streamed from the vats into the chocolate-making machinery. 

Stream also refers to a flow of data that is transmitted over the internet to your computer or other electronic device. A stream usually takes the form of music, movies, video games, or a live video broadcast.

  • Real-life examples: Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch allow people to watch streams of videos, while Spotify and Amazon Music offer music streams.
  • Used in a sentence: We watched a stream of the movie on my laptop. 

In this same sense, stream is used as a verb to mean to transmit or receive a stream of data over the internet. Here, a streamer is the person who sends or receives data over the internet.

  • Used in a sentence: I told her not to illegally stream music but she wouldn’t listen.

Where does stream come from?

The first records of stream come from before the 900s. It ultimately comes from the Old English noun strēam. The verb comes from the noun.

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What are some other forms related to stream?

  • streamer (noun)
  • streamy (adjective)
  • streamless (adjective)
  • streamlike (adjective)
  • interstream (adjective)
  • outstream (verb)
  • understream (noun)

What are some synonyms for stream?

What are some words that share a root or word element with stream?

What are some words that often get used in discussing stream?

How is stream used in real life?

Stream is a common word that most often means a flow of water or liquid. Online, the word stream is much more likely to mean to transmit or receive data through the internet.


Try using stream!

True or False?

A stream can be a creek, brook, or small river.

How to use stream in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stream

/ (striːm) /


Derived forms of stream

streamlet, nounstreamlike, adjective

Word Origin for stream

Old English; related to Old Frisian strām, Old Norse straumr, Old High German stroum, Greek rheuma
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

Scientific definitions for stream

[ strēm ]

A flow of water in a channel or bed, as a brook, rivulet, or small river.
A flow of a watery substance, such as blood in blood vessels or cytoplasm in fungal hyphae, in an organism or in part of an organism.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with stream


see change horses in midstream; swim against the current (stream).

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