riv ‧ er S2 W2 /ˈrɪvə $ -ər/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: rivere , from Latin riparius 'of a river bank' , from ripa 'bank, shore' ]
1 . a natural and continuous flow of water in a long line across a country into the sea ⇨ stream :
the Mississippi River
the River Thames
on a river
There were several boats on the river.
along a river
We went for a walk along the river.
up/down (a) river
a ship sailing up river
They drifted slowly down river.
across a river
a bridge across the river
► Be careful about word order with river names - you say the River Thames, the River Nile, the River Amazon etc, but the Hudson River, the Mississippi River etc.
2 . a large amount of moving liquid
a river of hot lava flowing from the volcano
⇨ sell somebody down the river at ↑ sell 1 (10)
• • •
▪ a river flows
The River Avon flows through the town of Stratford.
▪ a river runs (=it flows in a particular direction )
the place where the river runs into the sea
▪ a river winds (=it turns and curves, rather than going in a straight line)
He could see the river winding across the plain.
▪ a river floods
There are fears that the river could flood.
▪ a river dries up
Further downstream the river has dried up completely several times in recent years.
▪ a river narrows (=it becomes narrower)
The river narrows at this point.
▪ a river rises somewhere formal (=it starts there)
The River Euphrates rises in Turkey and flows through Syria.
▪ cross a river
Cross the river by the road bridge and then turn right.
▪ ford a river (=cross a river on foot, in a vehicle, or on a horse, without using a bridge)
The water was shallow enough for us to be able to ford the river.
▪ navigate a river (=to travel along a river )
The narrow cliffs once made the river dangerous to navigate.
We crossed the wide River Rhone the following morning.
The Severn is the longest river in Britain.
▪ swollen/high (=containing more water than usual)
After the rains, the river was swollen.
The river was high and running quite swiftly.
The child fell into a fast-flowing river.
▪ a mighty river (=very big and impressive)
Cairo sits at the mouth of the mighty river Nile.
▪ a river is navigable (=people are able to travel along it in a boat)
The river is navigable in the winter months.
■ river + NOUN
▪ the river bank
Crowds lined the river banks to watch the boat race.
▪ a river bed (=the bottom of a river)
They walked along a dry river bed.
▪ a river valley
They came to a wide river valley.
▪ the banks of a river (=the land near a river)
He bought a house on the banks of the River Wye.
▪ the mouth of a river (=where it joins the sea)
The Statue of Liberty stands at the mouth of the Hudson River.
▪ the source of a river (=the place where it starts)
Where exactly is the source of the River Ganges?
▪ the upper/lower etc reaches of a river (=the upper, lower etc parts)
We sailed down the lower reaches of the river.
▪ a bend in a river
He rounded a bend in the river and saw Flora sitting there.
▪ a river is in spate British English (=it is very full and the water is flowing very quickly)
The snow had just melted and the rivers were in spate.
• • •
▪ river a line of water that flows into the sea:
They crossed the river by ferry.
the River Tweed
the Yangtze river
▪ tributary a stream or river that flows into a larger river:
The River Trombetas is a tributary of the River Amazon.
▪ estuary the wide part of a river where it goes into the sea:
plans to build a big new airport on the Thames estuary
▪ canal a long passage dug into the ground and filled with water, either for boats to travel along, or to take water to a place:
Venice’s famous canals
a canal boat
▪ delta an area of low land where a river spreads into many smaller rivers near the sea:
the Nile delta
■ a small river
▪ stream a small narrow river:
a cool mountain stream
▪ brook literary a small stream:
There was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks.
▪ creek a narrow area of sea that goes into the land, or a small river:
The River Fal with its many creeks was a perfect place for smugglers.
The kids hunted for crabs in the muddy creek.
■ parts of a river
▪ mouth the part of a river where it joins the sea:
Havre-Marat was a port at the mouth of the River Seine.
▪ bank land along the side of a river:
the river bank
He owns a chateau on the banks of the River Loire.
▪ source the place where a river or stream starts:
The source of the River Nile was discovered by a British explorer, John Speke.