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[es-choo-er-ee] /ˈɛs tʃuˌɛr i/
noun, plural estuaries.
that part of the mouth or lower course of a river in which the river's current meets the sea's tide.
an arm or inlet of the sea at the lower end of a river.
1530-40; < Latin aestuārium channel, creek, inlet, equivalent to aestu(s) tide + -ārium -ary
Related forms
[es-choo-air-ee-uh l] /ˌɛs tʃuˈɛər i əl/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused
delta, estuary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for estuaries
  • They slink seaward mostly at night to avoid predators, lingering in brackish estuaries to gather strength.
  • Later, collectors scooped amber from the seafloor, estuaries and marshes.
  • With fisheries and estuaries closed, they cannot easily find other jobs.
  • The resort's location near mangrove estuaries attracts the cetaceans for which it is named.
  • Water attractions in the vicinity include bays, wetlands, estuaries and bayous.
  • Paddle along the coast, dipping in and out of the scenic estuaries and coves.
  • Spend the remainder of the vacation kayaking and bird watching among mangrove estuaries before departure.
  • Some include balconies overlooking the estuaries and gardens.
  • Bull sharks happily tolerate the murky water found in estuaries and bays.
  • In addition, warmer temperatures cause excess melting of ice caps and glaciers, raising sea levels and flooding estuaries.
British Dictionary definitions for estuaries


noun (pl) -aries
the widening channel of a river where it nears the sea, with a mixing of fresh water and salt (tidal) water
an inlet of the sea
Derived Forms
estuarial (ˌɛstjʊˈɛərɪəl) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin aestuārium marsh, channel, from aestus tide, billowing movement, related to aestās summer
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 estuaries



1530s, from Latin aestuarium "a tidal marsh or opening," from aestus "boiling (of the sea), tide, heat," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice). Related: Estuaries; estuarine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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estuaries in Science
  1. The wide lower course of a river where it flows into the sea. Estuaries experience tidal flows and their water is a changing mixture of fresh and salt.

  2. An arm of the sea that extends inland to meet the mouth of a river.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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estuaries in Culture
estuary [(es-chooh-er-ee)]

A wide body of water formed where a large river meets the sea. It contains both fresh and salt water.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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