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

  • n. A branch of a river that flows away from the main stream.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A branch of a river delta; a channel that distributes a river's waters into the sea, as with the Atchafalaya River of the Mississippi.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tending to distribute or be distributed; that distributes; distributive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Distributing; distributive; designed for distribution.
  • n. In physical geography, an outflowing branch of a river, such as occurs characteristically on a delta.

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

  • n. a branch of a river that flows away from the main stream and does not rejoin it


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

dis- + tribute + -ary


  • Muddy floodwaters rise and spread over deltaic wetlands from main and so-called distributary channels, transporting mass and energy laterally across the delta, in essence nourishing the landscape.

    Web Edition | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

  • Currently, it has sought to divert more of its flow to the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi and Red Rivers, into the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the United States.

    Hurricane Katrina: The Fate of New Orleans Hangs in an Uncomfortable Balance with Mother Nature

  • The Sanctuary is in the basin of the brackish Djoudj bayou (distributary or marigot) between the main river channel to the north and the Gorom bayou to the south.

    Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal

  • The distributary channels and alluvial fans at the mouths of the Flinders, Mitchell, Gilbert, Leichardt, McArthur, and Roper Rivers have extended the seaward edge of the plains.

    Carpentaria tropical savanna

  • Although the Niger presents a zoogeographic barrier to some degree, the situation in reality is far more complex since the narrower distributary delta channels allow species to move from one side of the Niger River to the other.

    Niger Delta swamp forests

  • The reductions in sediment discharge, as a consequence of damming, have caused a major retreat of the (formerly prograding) distributary mouths at Damietta and Rosetta where coastal defences have been installed in an attempt to arrest the retreat.

    Northern Africa and coastal and marine environments

  • Just before the settlers arrived, some 9,500 years ago, the Çarsamba River, a distributary of which once ran right next to the mound, began depositing layers of broad alluvial sediments.

    The Goddess and the Bull

  • Or, as Mellaart had suggested, did they move across a distributary of the Çarsamba River to the West Mound, a smaller Chalcolithic settlement with lots of painted pottery?

    The Goddess and the Bull

  • An alternative course is to leave the choice of crops to the cultivator, within limits as to total water requirements, and to work out a delivery schedule which meets the summation of these demands in each minor or distributary command from month to month.

    Chapter 8

  • Considerable ingenuity can be exercised by the cultivators in such operations, for instance herding water-buffaloes into a distributary canal, as a portable dam, causing the upstream level to rise and break through, with major flow into a nearby drainage channel from which water flows to the fields of the perpetrators.

    Chapter 5


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