Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Mesopotamia, therefore, meant a stretch of land "between the rivers."

Just think of the Hippopotamus, the horse or "hippos" that lives in the rivers.

Commerce crowds our rivers and rails, our skies, harbors, and highways.

They fished out our rivers and swept up the game like fire in the forest.

All the mountains, and rivers, and forests—all the people in the world?

Did I not say that mountains and rivers and forests are nothing?

Moreover, the rivers are always ours and reinforcements will soon pour in to us.

All the rivers ran away from him, and went to turn some other mill.

I suppose there is nothing for it but get out my buckboard and get back to Three Rivers.

On the right was earth with its towns, forests, and rivers, and the beings that live in each.


early 13c., from Anglo-French rivere, Old French riviere "river, riverside, river bank" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *riparia "riverbank, seashore, river" (cf. Spanish ribera, Italian riviera), noun use of fem. of Latin riparius "of a riverbank" (see riparian). Generalized sense of "a copious flow" of anything is from late 14c. The Old English word was ea "river," cognate with Gothic ahwa, Latin aqua (see aqua-). Romanic cognate words tend to retain the sense "river bank" as the main one, or else the secondary Latin sense "coast of the sea" (cf. Riviera).

U.S. slang phrase up the river "in prison" (1891) is originally in reference to Sing Sing prison, which was literally "up the (Hudson) river" from New York City. Phrase down the river "done for, finished" perhaps echoes sense in sell down the river (1851), originally of troublesome slaves, to sell from the Upper South to the harsher cotton plantations of the Deep South.