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river1

[riv-er] /ˈrɪv ər/
noun
1.
a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definite course or channel or series of diverging and converging channels.
2.
a similar stream of something other than water:
a river of lava; a river of ice.
3.
any abundant stream or copious flow; outpouring:
rivers of tears; rivers of words.
4.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Eridanus.
5.
Printing. a vertical channel of white space resulting from the alignment in several lines of spaces between words.
Idioms
6.
sell down the river, to betray; desert; mislead:
to sell one's friends down the river.
7.
up the river, Slang.
  1. to prison:
    to be sent up the river for a bank robbery.
  2. in prison:
    Thirty years up the river had made him a stranger to society.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French rivere, riviere < Vulgar Latin *rīpāria, noun use of feminine of Latin rīpārius riparian
Related forms
riverless, adjective
riverlike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sell down the river

river

/ˈrɪvə/
noun
1.
  1. a large natural stream of fresh water flowing along a definite course, usually into the sea, being fed by tributary streams
  2. (as modifier): river traffic, a river basin
  3. (in combination): riverside, riverbed, related adjectives fluvial potamic
2.
any abundant stream or flow: a river of blood
3.
(informal) sell down the river, to deceive or betray
4.
(poker, slang) the river, the fifth and final community card to be dealt in a round of Texas hold 'em
Derived Forms
riverless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French riviere, from Latin rīpārius of a river bank, from rīpa bank
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 sell down the river

river

n.

early 13c., from Anglo-French rivere, Old French riviere "river, riverside, river bank" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *riparia "riverbank, seashore, river" (cf. Spanish ribera, Italian riviera), noun use of fem. of Latin riparius "of a riverbank" (see riparian). Generalized sense of "a copious flow" of anything is from late 14c. The Old English word was ea "river," cognate with Gothic ahwa, Latin aqua (see aqua-). Romanic cognate words tend to retain the sense "river bank" as the main one, or else the secondary Latin sense "coast of the sea" (cf. Riviera).

U.S. slang phrase up the river "in prison" (1891) is originally in reference to Sing Sing prison, which was literally "up the (Hudson) river" from New York City. Phrase down the river "done for, finished" perhaps echoes sense in sell down the river (1851), originally of troublesome slaves, to sell from the Upper South to the harsher cotton plantations of the Deep South.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sell down the river in Science
river
  (rĭv'ər)   
A wide, natural stream of fresh water that flows into an ocean or other large body of water and is usually fed by smaller streams, called tributaries, that enter it along its course. A river and its tributaries form a drainage basin, or watershed, that collects the runoff throughout the region and channels it along with erosional sediments toward the river. The sediments are typically deposited most heavily along the river's lower course, forming floodplains along its banks and a delta at its mouth.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sell down the river
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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sell down the river in the Bible

(1.) Heb. 'aphik, properly the channel or ravine that holds water (2 Sam. 22:16), translated "brook," "river," "stream," but not necessarily a perennial stream (Ezek. 6:3; 31:12; 32:6; 34:13). (2.) Heb. nahal, in winter a "torrent," in summer a "wady" or valley (Gen. 32:23; Deut. 2:24; 3:16; Isa. 30:28; Lam. 2:18; Ezek. 47:9). These winter torrents sometimes come down with great suddenness and with desolating force. A distinguished traveller thus describes his experience in this matter:, "I was encamped in Wady Feiran, near the base of Jebel Serbal, when a tremendous thunderstorm burst upon us. After little more than an hour's rain, the water rose so rapidly in the previously dry wady that I had to run for my life, and with great difficulty succeeded in saving my tent and goods; my boots, which I had not time to pick up, were washed away. In less than two hours a dry desert wady upwards of 300 yards broad was turned into a foaming torrent from 8 to 10 feet deep, roaring and tearing down and bearing everything upon it, tangled masses of tamarisks, hundreds of beautiful palmtrees, scores of sheep and goats, camels and donkeys, and even men, women, and children, for a whole encampment of Arabs was washed away a few miles above me. The storm commenced at five in the evening; at half-past nine the waters were rapidly subsiding, and it was evident that the flood had spent its force." (Comp. Matt. 7:27; Luke 6:49.) (3.) Nahar, a "river" continuous and full, a perennial stream, as the Jordan, the Euphrates (Gen. 2:10; 15:18; Deut. 1:7; Ps. 66:6; Ezek. 10:15). (4.) Tel'alah, a conduit, or water-course (1 Kings 18:32; 2 Kings 18:17; 20:20; Job 38:25; Ezek. 31:4). (5.) Peleg, properly "waters divided", i.e., streams divided, throughout the land (Ps. 1:3); "the rivers [i.e., 'divisions'] of waters" (Job 20:17; 29:6; Prov. 5:16). (6.) Ye'or, i.e., "great river", probably from an Egyptian word (Aur), commonly applied to the Nile (Gen. 41:1-3), but also to other rivers (Job 28:10; Isa. 33:21). (7.) Yubhal, "a river" (Jer. 17:8), a full flowing stream. (8.) 'Ubhal, "a river" (Dan. 8:2).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with sell down the river

sell down the river

Betray, as in They kept the merger a secret until the last minute, so the employees who were laid off felt they'd been sold down the river. This expression, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to slaves being sold down the Mississippi River to work as laborers on cotton plantations. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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