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[dih-strib-yoo-ter-ee] /dɪˈstrɪb yʊˌtɛr i/
noun, plural distributaries.
an outflowing branch of a stream or river, typically found in a delta (opposed to tributary).
Origin of distributary
1535-45; distribute + -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distributary
  • Note the exquisite distributary pattern coming out of the creek mouth.
  • Internally the pillows are fed via a distributary system of interconnected channels.
  • The project includes constructing terraces, dredging distributary channels, and planting vegetation on the terraces.
  • They show up in deltaic deposits where a given delta distributary is stranded or abandoned.
  • Added in alluvial fans and distributary flow areas as special hazards and a requirement for engineering plans in these areas.
British Dictionary definitions for distributary


/dɪˈstrɪbjʊtərɪ; -trɪ/
noun (pl) -taries
one of several outlet streams draining a river, esp on a delta
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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distributary in Science
  1. A branch of a river that flows away from the main stream.

  2. One of the channels in a braided stream.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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