[ trib-yuh-ter-ee ]
/ ˈtrɪb yəˌtɛr i /

noun, plural trib·u·tar·ies.

a stream that flows to a larger stream or other body of water.
a person or nation that pays tribute in acknowledgment of subjugation or the like.


Origin of tributary

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


trib·u·tar·i·ly, adverbnon·trib·u·tar·y, adjectiveun·trib·u·tar·i·ly, adverbun·trib·u·tar·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for tributary

British Dictionary definitions for tributary

/ (ˈtrɪbjʊtərɪ, -trɪ) /

noun plural -taries

a stream, river, or glacier that feeds another larger one
a person, nation, or people that pays tribute


(of a stream, etc) feeding a larger stream
given or owed as a tribute
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 ]

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.