Definition of stream in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /strēm/


1A small, narrow river.
Example sentences
  • After buying a licence you have hundreds of fishable streams creeks and rivers to fish.
  • The streams and rivers offer excellent fly fishing for trout and bass; hook a smallmouth on a six weight rod and you're having fun.
  • My chosen tackle for sea trout when fishing small rivers and streams is usually a six weight rod with floating line and a nine foot leader.
creek, river, rivulet, rill, runnel, streamlet, freshet;
2A continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas: Frank blew out a stream of smoke the blood gushed out in scarlet streams
More example sentences
  • A stream of liquid pours in through the broken window.
  • As the train jerked forwards it spilt a stream of its yellow liquid onto the carriage floor.
  • He breathed heavily through his nose and accidentally shot a stream of liquid mucus onto the table.
jet, flow, rush, gush, surge, torrent, flood, cascade, outpouring, outflow
technical efflux
2.1A mass of people or things moving continuously in the same direction: there is a steady stream of visitors
More example sentences
  • Off to the west is what was once Legion Avenue, where steady streams of cars and trucks barrel in from the suburbs or head out to them along twin one-way roads given over entirely to traffic.
  • Bicycles were again in the spotlight at a local housing estate last week, which day in, day out plays host to a steady stream of fast moving traffic.
  • There was no far-off hum of constant traffic, no train whistles or car horns, and certainly no distant streams of moving lights from the nearest highway.
2.2A large number of things that happen or come one after the other: a woman screamed a stream of abuse
More example sentences
  • Any innocent comment that previously would go right over my head and be shrugged off will let forth a stream of abuse.
  • Stocks used to have cash flow - a stream of dividends whose regularity, growth, and quality could be assessed.
  • More than a fifth of the world's population seek their place in the world within a stream of history that flows from the Koran.
succession, flow, series, string
3 Computing A continuous flow of data or instructions, typically one having a constant or predictable rate.
Example sentences
  • The neat property of this attack is that the capacity of this storage mechanism scales at exactly the same rate as the data stream's rate does.
  • The receiver separates the electronic program guide data from the input stream.
  • One possibility will be to use compilers to optimise code for a superscalar implementation instead of having the processor work out how to optimise the instruction stream.
3.1A continuous flow of video and audio material transmitted or received over the Internet.
Example sentences
  • You can either listen to the stream or download the mp3.
  • The body may be a stream of data, a container of nested parts, or an embedded message.
  • This technique recovers the whole data stream, which is then decoded.
4 British term for track1 (sense 5 of the noun).
Example sentences
  • Those not in the A stream are taught at a different pace.
  • This means the two streams are often taught different subjects in the same room at the same time.
  • Instead, her IQ of 109 took her to Ryder Brow Secondary Modern, where she was in top streams despite poor attendance.


1 [no object] (Of liquid) run or flow in a continuous current in a specified direction: she sat with tears streaming down her face sunlight streamed through the windows
More example sentences
  • In spring, I can feel the currents of cool air streaming toward me carrying odors of herbs and roots.
  • I felt drenched, the water was streaming down my face, and my immaculate hair was soaked.
  • Lanette nodded, salty water streaming down her cheeks.
flow, pour, course, run, gush, surge, flood, cascade, spill
1.1(Of a mass of people or things) move in a continuous flow in a specified direction: he was watching the taxis streaming past
More example sentences
  • ‘I do not expect to see lines of refuges streaming to the borders,’ said Reams.
  • People are streaming past the windows in both directions.
  • Soon a long line of tractors streamed over the lone bridge connecting Kosovo with Albania.
pour, surge, charge, flood, swarm, pile, crowd
1.2 (usually be streaming) (Of a person or part of the body) produce a continuous flow of liquid; run with liquid: my eyes were streaming I woke up in the night, streaming with sweat [with object]: his mouth was streaming blood
More example sentences
  • Cool and feminine in silk and lace, or clad in casual clothes, streaming with sweat today's woman can be beautiful either way.
  • Choking back the bile, eyes streaming with tears, I doused cotton balls and tossed them around the attic.
  • Jolene looked up at Todd, her eyes streaming with tears.
1.3(Of hair, clothing, etc.) float or wave at full extent in the wind: her black cloak streamed behind her
More example sentences
  • Her hair streamed behind her and fanned out like a cloak and her skirts flew up around her slender legs in a tornado of color.
  • Her long golden hair streamed behind her like a golden flag as they galloped across the plains.
  • Hair streaming in the wind, cloak rippling out behind him and eyes flashing, he bore down upon the fortifications.
flutter, float, flap, fly, blow, waft, wave
2 [with object] Computing Transmit or receive (data, especially video and audio material) over the Internet as a steady, continuous flow.
Example sentences
  • During a ground contact event, the payload streams data in real time through a series of software pipes.
  • Data's streaming when it's moving quickly from one piece of hardware to another and doesn't have to be all in one place for the destination device to do something with it.
  • The hacker hopes his move will make content streamed to Media Player more widely available to users of alternative players on non-Windows platforms.
3 British term for track1 (sense 4 of the verb).
Example sentences
  • Why should we be so dismissive of the grammar schools selection process when most schools stream students of similar ability for science, maths etc?
  • Donnelly, however, sees no objection to streaming students according to ability and interests, within a school or between schools.
  • Pupils are then streamed in each subject according to their ability and aptitude.



against (or with) the stream

Against (or with) the prevailing view or tendency: a world in which the demand for quality does not run against the stream
More example sentences
  • He was a quick-witted, well-meaning man who went with the stream instead of having the vision and strength of judgment to stand out against it.
  • They cannot help but drift with the stream of success-oriented culture, however unwilling they may be.
  • The conception that a Marxist party has to swim against the stream and to fight against the prevailing forms of consciousness is entirely anathema to them.

on stream

In or into operation or existence; available: more jobs are coming on stream
More example sentences
  • The petroleum company's newbuild pipelayer is expected to come on stream in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • When it came on stream in July 1997, this was the deepest production well in the world


Old English strēam (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stroom, German Strom, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek rhein 'to flow'.

Words that rhyme with stream

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seam, seem, steam, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stream

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.