Stream vs. River

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Stream and River is that the body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks, bigger than a ditch but smaller than a river and River is a natural watercourse.

  • Stream

    A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. The stream encompasses surface and groundwater fluxes that respond to geological, geomorphological, hydrological and biotic controls.

    Depending on its location or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to by a variety of local or regional names. Long large streams are usually called rivers.

    Streams are important as conduits in the water cycle, instruments in groundwater recharge, and corridors for fish and wildlife migration. The biological habitat in the immediate vicinity of a stream is called a riparian zone. Given the status of the ongoing Holocene extinction, streams play an important corridor role in connecting fragmented habitats and thus in conserving biodiversity. The study of streams and waterways in general is known as surface hydrology and is a core element of environmental geography.

  • River

    A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are “run” in some parts of the United States, “burn” in Scotland and northeast England, and “beck” in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.Rivers are part of the hydrological cycle; water generally collects in a river from precipitation through a drainage basin from surface runoff and other sources such as groundwater recharge, springs, and the release of stored water in natural ice and snowpacks (e.g., from glaciers). Potamology is the scientific study of rivers, while limnology is the study of inland waters in general. Most of the major cities of the world are situated on the banks of rivers, as they are, or were, used as a source of water, for obtaining food, for transport, as borders, as a defensive measure, as a source of hydropower to drive machinery, for bathing, and as a means of disposing of waste.

  • Stream (noun)

    A small river; a large creek; a body of moving water confined by banks.

  • Stream (noun)

    A thin connected passing of a liquid through a lighter gas (e.g. air).

    “He poured the milk in a thin stream from the jug to the glass.”

  • Stream (noun)

    Any steady flow or succession of material, such as water, air, radio signal or words.

    “Her constant nagging was to him a stream of abuse.”

  • Stream (noun)

    All moving waters.

  • Stream (noun)

    A source or repository of data that can be read or written only sequentially.

  • Stream (noun)

    A particular path, channel, division, or way of proceeding.

    “Haredi Judaism is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture.”

  • Stream (noun)

    A division of a school year by perceived ability.

    “All of the bright kids went into the A stream, but I was in the B stream.”

  • Stream (verb)

    To flow in a continuous or steady manner, like a liquid.

  • Stream (verb)

    To extend; to stretch out with a wavy motion; to float in the wind.

    “A flag streams in the wind.”

  • Stream (verb)

    To push continuous data (e.g. music) from a server to a client computer while it is being used (played) on the client.

  • River (noun)

    A large and often winding stream which drains a land mass, carrying water down from higher areas to a lower point, ending at an ocean or in an inland sea.

    “Occasionally rivers overflow their banks and cause floods.”

  • River (noun)

    Any large flow of a liquid in a single body.

    “a river of blood”

  • River (noun)

    The last card dealt in a hand.

  • River (noun)

    A visually undesirable effect of white space running down a page, caused by spaces between words on consecutive lines happening to coincide.

  • River (noun)

    One who rives or splits.

  • River (verb)

    To improve one’s hand to beat another player on the final card in a poker game.

    “Johnny rivered me by drawing that ace of spades.”

  • Stream (noun)

    a small, narrow river

    “a perfect trout stream”

  • Stream (noun)

    a continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas

    “Frank blew out a stream of smoke”

    “the blood gushed out in scarlet streams”

  • Stream (noun)

    a mass of people or things moving continuously in the same direction

    “there is a steady stream of visitors”

  • Stream (noun)

    a large number of things that happen or come one after the other

    “a woman screamed a stream of abuse”

  • Stream (noun)

    a continuous flow of data or instructions, typically one having a constant or predictable rate.

  • Stream (noun)

    a continuous flow of video and audio material transmitted or received over the Internet.

  • Stream (noun)

    a group in which schoolchildren of the same age and ability are taught.

    “children in the top streams”

  • Stream (verb)

    (of liquid, air, gas, etc.) run or flow in a continuous current in a specified direction

    “she sat with tears streaming down her face”

    “sunlight streamed through the windows”

  • Stream (verb)

    (of a mass of people or things) move in a continuous flow in a specified direction

    “he was watching the taxis streaming past”

  • Stream (verb)

    run with tears, sweat, or other liquid

    “I woke up in the night, streaming with sweat”

    “his mouth was streaming blood”

    “my eyes were streaming”

  • Stream (verb)

    (of hair, clothing, etc.) float or wave at full extent in the wind

    “her black cloak streamed behind her”

  • Stream (verb)

    transmit or receive (data, especially video and audio material) over the Internet as a steady, continuous flow.

  • Stream (verb)

    put (schoolchildren) in groups of the same age and ability to be taught together.

    “in the coming school year, we were to be streamed”

  • River (noun)

    a large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another river

    “the Mekong River”

    “river pollution”

    “the River Danube”

  • River (noun)

    a large quantity of a flowing substance

    “great rivers of molten lava”

  • River (noun)

    used in names of animals and plants living in or associated with rivers, e.g. river dolphin.

Oxford Dictionary

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