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coulee

[koo-lee] /ˈku li/
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
1800-1810
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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for coulee
  • coulee lakes tend to be either fairly large drainage lakes or smaller seepage lakes.
British Dictionary definitions for coulee

coulee

/ˈkuːleɪ; -lɪ/
noun
1.
  1. a flow of molten lava
  2. 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
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coulee
n.

"deep ravine, seasonally flooded," 1804, a North American word, originally in areas explored by French trappers, from French coulée "flow" (17c.), from fem. past participle of couler "to flow," from Latin colare "to filter, strain" (see colander).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for coulee

arroyo

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

Learn more about arroyo with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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