Tributaries

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Tributaries'

Tributaries Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Tributary \Trib"u*ta*ry\, n.; pl. Tributaries.
  1. A ruler or state that pays tribute, or a stated sum, to a conquering power, for the purpose of securing peace and protection, or as an acknowledgment of submission, or for the purchase of security.
  2. A stream or river flowing into a larger river or into a lake; an affluent.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Tributaries'


A tributary or affluent is a stream or river which flows into a main stem (or parent) river. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea, ocean, or lake. Tributaries and the mainstem river serve to drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater by leading the water out into an ocean or some other large body of water.

A confluence is where two or more bodies of water meet together, usually referring to the joining of tributaries.

Reciprocal to a tributary is a distributary, a river that branches off of and flows away from the main stream. Distributaries are most often found in river deltas.

'Right tributary' and 'left tributary' (or 'right-bank tributary' and 'left-bank tributary') are terms stating the position of the tributary relative to the flow of the mainstem river. These terms are defined from the perspective of looking downstream (in the direction the water current is going).

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