coulee

[koo-lee]
noun
1.
Chiefly Western U.S. and Western Canada. a deep ravine or gulch, usually dry, that has been formed by running water.
2.
a small valley.
3.
a low-lying area.
4.
a small intermittent stream.
5.
Geology. a stream of lava.

Origin:
1800–10, Americanism; < Canadian French, French: a flowing, noun use of feminine of coulé, past participle of couler to flow < Latin cōlāre to filter, strain, derivative of cōlum strainer, sieve; cf. colander, portcullis

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Collins
World English Dictionary
coulee (ˈkuːleɪ, -lɪ)
 
n
1.  a.  a flow of molten lava
 b.  such lava when solidified
2.  (Western US), (Canadian) a dry stream valley, especially a long steep-sided gorge or ravine that once carried melt water from a glacier
3.  a small intermittent stream in such a ravine
 
[C19: from Canadian French coulée a flow, from French, from couler to flow, from Latin cōlāre to sift, purify; see colander]

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

coulee
"deep ravine, seasonally flooded," 1807, a N.Amer. word, originally in areas explored by Fr. trappers, from Fr. coulée "flow," from couler "to flow."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

coulee

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
Coulee lakes tend to be either fairly large drainage lakes or smaller seepage lakes.
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