RIVER, any considerable stream of water flowing in a defined channel. The origin and subsequent formation of rivers and the valleys along which they flow are considered under Geography, § Principles of Geography, and Geology, § viii. The word "river" is an adaptation of the O. Fr. rivere (mod. riviere), which descends through Med. Lat. rivera, Low. Lat. riparia, in the sense of river-bank and river, from ripa, bank. The Latin for a stream or river is rivus, whence rivulas, a small stream, Eng. "rivulet," which is, therefore, distinct in origin from "river," though probably the sense of rives influenced the Med. Lat. rivera. The etymology of rivus and ripa is disputed; some scholars refer both to the root ri-, to drop, flow; others take ripa to be from the root seen in Gr. Epd rEty, to tear, English "rive," the sense being a broken cliff or steep bank.
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