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river

Syllabification: riv·er
Pronunciation: /ˈrivər
 
/

Definition of river in English:

noun

1A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another such stream.
Example sentences
  • Global warming could devastate lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands throughout the United States.
  • In river valleys, water that seeps from canals and fields provides groundwater that can be pumped for various purposes or the water may return to rivers through streams or creeks.
  • Water can be obtained from streams, rivers, lakes, or underground aquifers, which are used to supply private wells and public drinking water.
Synonyms
1.1A large quantity of a flowing substance: great rivers of molten lava figurative the trickle of disclosures has grown into a river of revelations
More example sentences
  • The young man was sweating profusely; rivers of it were flowing down his pale face.
  • I proceeded along the jagged ridges staring down into a river of a boiling red substance.
  • There I am running rivers of sweat down my neck, down my chest, down my belly and through my shirt, and I'm dancing harder than I've ever danced to a rock band.
Synonyms
stream, torrent, flood, deluge, cascade
1.2 [as modifier] Used in names of animals and plants living in or associated with rivers, e.g., river dolphin, river birch.

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, based on Latin riparius, from ripa 'bank of a river'.

More
  • River comes from the same root at rival. To sell someone down the river is to betray them, especially to benefit yourself. The expression refers to the slave-owning period of American history. It was the custom to sell troublesome slaves to owners of sugar-cane plantations on the lower Mississippi, where conditions were harsher than those in the more northerly slave-owning states. The first recorded use is in 1851 by the American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose best-known work is the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin ( 1852). The ‘betray’ sense did not emerge until much later, in the 1920s, perhaps because the subject was too sensitive to be used casually. In the USA someone who has been sent up the river is in prison. The phrase originally referred to Sing Sing prison, which is situated up the Hudson River from the city of New York.

Phrases

sell someone down the river

1
informal Betray someone, especially so as to benefit oneself.
[earlier referring to the sale of a troublesome slave to the owner of a sugarcane plantation on the lower Mississippi, where conditions were harsher]
Example sentences
  • Staff feel they have been sold down the river by the Government.
  • And they say they feel they have been sold down the river by their union leaders, who last week accepted a pay settlement involving changes in shift patterns and working practices.
  • He has sold us down the river and made our democracy a joke.

up the river

2
North American informal To or in prison.
[with allusion to Sing Sing prison, situated up the Hudson River from New York City]
Example sentences
  • You're indicted, convicted and sent up the river.
  • Let me be on record as being strongly opposed to sending Limbaugh up the river, even though that is the penalty he wished to inflict on others.
  • They're sent up the river for ‘life,’ having all the time in the world to spend together.

Derivatives

rivered

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • All Night Radio serve up an escapist's reminder that spring is fast approaching, and we always need music for open windows, top-down convertibles and misty drives on roads rivered with melted snow.
  • His bloated face was rivered with veins, like raspberry ripple ice-cream.

riverless

2
adjective
Example sentences
  • But, so far as we could discover, the land was riverless, and eternal frost prevailed.
  • O'Connor saw for himself the arid, riverless country through which the new railway line from Northam must pass.

Words that rhyme with river

aquiver, downriver, forgiver, giver, quiver, shiver, sliver, upriver

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