[ trib-yuh-ter-ee ]
See synonyms for: tributarytributaries on

noun,plural trib·u·tar·ies.
  1. a stream that flows to a larger stream or other body of water.

  2. a person or nation that pays tribute in acknowledgment of subjugation or the like.

  1. (of a stream) flowing into a larger stream or other body of water.

  2. furnishing subsidiary aid; contributory.

  1. paying or required to pay tribute.

  2. paid as tribute.

  3. subject; subordinate: a tributary nation.

Origin of tributary

1325–75; Middle English (adj. and noun) <Latin tribūtārius of tribute, one who pays tribute. See tribute, -ary

Other words from tributary

  • trib·u·tar·i·ly, adverb
  • non·trib·u·tar·y, adjective
  • un·trib·u·tar·i·ly, adverb
  • un·trib·u·tar·y, adjective

Words Nearby tributary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use tributary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tributary


/ (ˈtrɪbjʊtərɪ, -trɪ) /

nounplural -taries
  1. a stream, river, or glacier that feeds another larger one

  2. a person, nation, or people that pays tribute

  1. (of a stream, etc) feeding a larger stream

  2. given or owed as a tribute

  1. paying tribute

Derived forms of tributary

  • tributarily, adverb

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 tributary


[ trĭbyə-tĕr′ē ]

  1. A stream that flows into a river, a larger stream, or a lake.

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