noun, plural arroyos.
(chiefly in southwest U.S.) a small steep-sided watercourse or gulch with a nearly flat floor: usually dry except after heavy rains.

1800–10, Americanism; < Spanish; akin to Latin arrūgia mine shaft Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
arroyo (əˈrɔɪəʊ)
n , pl -os
a steep-sided stream bed that is usually dry except after heavy rain
[C19: from Spanish]

Arroyo (əˈrɔɪjəʊ)
Gloria Macapagal. born 1948, Filipino stateswoman; president of the Philippines from 2001; vice-president (1998--2001)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"a watercourse, dry streambed," 1845, a California word, from Amer.Sp., from Sp., "rivulet, small stream," from L. arrugia "shaft or pit in a gold mine," apparently a compound of ad- "to" + ruga "wrinkle."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
arroyo   (ə-roi'ō)  Pronunciation Key 
A small, deep gully or channel of an ephemeral stream. Arroyos usually have relatively flat floors and are flanked by steep sides consisting of unconsolidated sediments. They are usually dry except after heavy rainfall.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


a dry channel lying in a semiarid or desert area and subject to flash flooding during seasonal or irregular rainstorms. Such transitory streams, rivers, or creeks are noted for their gullying effects and especially for their rapid rates of erosion, transportation, and deposition. There have been reports of up to 8 feet (2 m) of deposition in 60 years and like amounts of erosion during a single flood event

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
My afternoon trek up the arroyo is rewarding as well.
Arroyo's troops destroy everything but the mirrored ballroom of the hacienda.
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