Meaning of “river” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"river" in British English

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rivernoun [ C ]

uk /ˈrɪv.ər/ us /ˈrɪv.ɚ/

A1 a natural wide flow of fresh water across the land into the sea, a lake, or another river:

We sailed slowly down the river.

A1 written abbreviation R used before or after the name of a river:

the River Thames/Seine/Nile
the Hudson/Mississippi/Yangzte River
up (the) river

in the opposite direction to the flow of water in the river:

We sailed up river.
down (the) river

in the same direction as the flow of water in the river

More examples

  • Changing the course of the river would cause serious environmental damage to the whole valley.
  • Effluents from local factories are finding their way into the river.
  • Several small streams feed into the river near here.
  • We want clean rivers and lakes, where you can swim without risk to your health.
  • They're building new houses by the river.


(Definition of “river” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"river" in American English

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rivernoun [ C ]

us /ˈrɪv·ər/

water that flows naturally through a wide channel that is surrounded by land:

the Mississippi River
We went swimming in the river.

A river is also any large flow of a liquid:

Rivers of sweat ran down his back.

(Definition of “river” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)