from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A deep gully cut by an intermittent stream; a dry gulch.
  • n. A brook; a creek.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dry creek or stream bed, a gulch which temporarily or seasonally fills and flows (after sufficient rain).
  • n. Any water course; any rivulet (whether it flows year-round or only seasonally).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A water course; a rivulet.
  • n. The dry bed of a small stream.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A watercourse; a rivulet. Also arrollo.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stream or brook


Spanish, from Vulgar Latin *arrugius, gold mine, underground passage, variant of Latin arrugia, a galleried mine.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish arroyo. (Wiktionary)


  • The word arroyo has appeared in one New York Times article in the past year, on Jan. 1 in the Scientist at Work blog post "The Sun, the Moon and the Quail" by Jennifer Gee:

    NYT > Home Page

  • Learn more about the word "arroyo" and see usage examples across a range of subjects on the dictionary.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Finally, the arroyo is too strong and takes the taxi away.

    Global Voices in English » Colombia: Living with Flooding in Barranquilla

  • Lots of people living along the main arroyo have lost everything and I think some folks are still missing - very sad, it is such a lovely little town.

    Alamos and Norbert

  • An arroyo is a deep dry ditch in dry weather; but whenever it rains the water rushes down the arroyo and makes it a deep river.

    Taytay's Tales

  • It is surmised that the very name Guadalupe has its origins in the Arabic wadi lupe, that is, an arroyo of dark sand.

    Susan J. Cobb: The Inner Virgin Comes Out In Revolution

  • And if you're near anywhere that's near a creek, stream or any kind of a dry arroyo, which is a wash, basically, in Texas, a dry wash, you just need to be up and out of that area, because you can see just some of the rainfall, some of the rainfall rates in that red right there.

    CNN Transcript Sep 24, 2005

  • But in 1846, when the lieutenant was here, the arroyo was a creek, too.

    The Mystery of the Headless Horse

  • The little creek called the arroyo Guaraguano, emptying into the Mao from the southwest at Hato Viejo, has cut a section in these beds more marked than that on the Mao.

    Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

  • Portuguese 'I learned that "arroyo" was "arrogo" in my Portuguese class, even though it sounded wrong to me.'

    On linguistic dreams


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  • From the examples:

    “It is surmised that the very name Guadalupe has its origins in the Arabic wadi lupe, that is, an arroyo of dark sand.”
    --The Huffington Post: Susan J. Cobb: The Inner Virgin Comes Out In Revolution

    May 23, 2012

  • "Her eyes moved from side to side in small, shooting peeks. Scraggle-headed and tremble-mouthed, she looked like a diseased coyote driven into its final arroyo." From Wizard and Glass by Stephen King.

    January 28, 2011

  • The hills were huge rolling hummocks of bare ground, covered only by wild oats. At long intervals, were isolated live oaks. In the canyons and arroyos, the chaparral and manzanita grew in dark olive-green thickets. The ground was honey-combed with gopher-holes, and the gophers themselves were everywhere. Occasionally a jack rabbit bounded across the open, from one growth of chaparral to another, taking long leaps, his ears erect. High overhead, a hawk or two swung at anchor, and once, with a startling rush of wings, a covey of quail flushed from the brush at the side of the trail.

    - Frank Norris, The Octopus, bk 2, ch. 3

    August 26, 2008