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 0. 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 rivus 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 hi Gr. epdirtiv, to tear, English " rive," the sense being a broken cliff or steep bank.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)