a body of water flowing in a channel or watercourse, as a river, rivulet, or brook. rill, run, streamlet, runnel.
a steady current in water, as in a river or the ocean: to row against the stream; the Gulf Stream. flow, tide.
any flow of water or other liquid or fluid: streams of blood.
a current or flow of air, gas, or the like.
a beam or trail of light: A stream of moonlight fell from the clouds.
a continuous flow or succession of anything: a stream of words. torrent, rush.
prevailing direction; drift: the stream of opinion.
Digital Technology. a flow of data, as an audio broadcast, a movie, or live video, transmitted smoothly and continuously from a source to a computer, mobile device, etc.
verb (used without object)
to flow, pass, or issue in a stream, as water, tears, or blood. pour.
to send forth or throw off a stream; run or flow (often followed by with ): eyes streaming with tears.
to extend in a beam or in rays, as light: Sunlight streamed in through the windows.
to move or proceed continuously like a flowing stream, as a procession.
to wave or float outward, as a flag in the wind.
to hang in a loose, flowing manner, as long hair.
verb (used with object)
to send forth or discharge in a stream: The wound streamed blood.
to cause to stream or float outward, as a flag.
Digital Technology. to transfer or transmit (data) in such a way that it is processed in a steady and continuous stream: Internet service providers are talking about setting limits on the amount of data that can be streamed into your home.
Nautical. to place (an object) in the water at the end of a line attached to a vessel.
on stream, in or into operation: The factory will be on stream in a month.

before 900; (noun) Middle English streem, Old English strēam; cognate with German Strom, Old Norse straumr; akin to Greek rheîn to flow (see rheum); (v.) Middle English streamen, derivative of the noun

streamless, adjective
streamlike, adjective
interstream, adjective
outstream, verb (used with object)
understream, noun

brook, creek, river, stream.

Stream, current refer to a steady flow. In this use they are interchangeable. In the sense of running water, however, a stream is a flow that may be as small as a brook or as large as a river: A number of streams have their sources in mountains. Current refers to the most rapidly moving part of the stream: This river has a swift current. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stream (striːm)
1.  a small river; brook
2.  any steady flow of water or other fluid
3.  something that resembles a stream in moving continuously in a line or particular direction
4.  a rapid or unbroken flow of speech, etc: a stream of abuse
5.  a flow of money into a business: a revenue stream
6.  (Brit) any of several parallel classes of schoolchildren, or divisions of children within a class, grouped together because of similar ability
7.  go with the stream, drift with the stream to conform to the accepted standards
8.  off stream (of an industrial plant, manufacturing process, etc) shut down or not in production
9.  on stream
 a.  (of an industrial plant, manufacturing process, etc) in or about to go into operation or production
 b.  available or in existence
vb (when intr, often foll by for)
10.  to emit or be emitted in a continuous flow: his nose streamed blood
11.  (intr) to move in unbroken succession, as a crowd of people, vehicles, etc
12.  (intr) to float freely or with a waving motion: bunting streamed in the wind
13.  (tr) to unfurl (a flag, etc)
14.  (intr) to move causing a trail of light, condensed gas, etc, as a jet aircraft
15.  mining to wash (earth, gravel, etc) in running water in prospecting (for gold, etc), to expose the particles of ore or metal
16.  (Brit) education to group or divide (children) in streams
[Old English; related to Old Frisian strām, Old Norse straumr, Old High German stroum, Greek rheuma]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. stream "a course of water," from P.Gmc. *straumaz (cf. O.S. strom, O.N. straumr, Dan. strøm, Swed. ström, Norw. straum, O.Fris. stram, Du. stroom, O.H.G. stroum, Ger. Strom "current, river"), from PIE base *sreu- "flow" (see rheum). Meaning "current in the
sea" (e.g. Gulf Stream) is recorded from late 14c. The verb is attested from early 13c. Streamer "flag that streams in the air" is recorded from late 13c. Stream of consciousness in lit crit first recorded 1931, originally in psychology (1855).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
stream   (strēm)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A flow of water in a channel or bed, as a brook, rivulet, or small river.

  2. A flow of a watery substance, such as blood in blood vessels or cytoplasm in fungal hyphae, in an organism or in part of an organism.

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

STREAM definition

["STREAM: A Scheme Language for Formally Describing Digital Circuits", C.D. Kloos in PARLE: Parallel Architectures and Languages Europe, LNCS 259, Springer 1987].

stream definition

1. An abstraction referring to any flow of data from a source (or sender, producer) to a single sink (or receiver, consumer). A stream usually flows through a channel of some kind, as opposed to packets which may be addressed and routed independently, possibly to multiple recipients. Streams usually require some mechanism for establishing a channel or a "connection" between the sender and receiver.
2. In the C language's buffered input/ouput library functions, a stream is associated with a file or device which has been opened using fopen. Characters may be read from (written to) a stream without knowing their actual source (destination) and buffering is provided transparently by the library routines.
3. Confusingly, Sun have called their modular device driver mechanism "STREAMS".
4. In IBM's AIX operating system, a stream is a full-duplex processing and data transfer path between a driver in kernel space and a process in user space.
[IBM AIX 3.2 Communication Programming Concepts, SC23-2206-03].
5. streaming.
6. lazy list.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see change horses in midstream; swim against the current (stream).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
If there were any hands raised, teach them that stream flow is entirely
  dependent upon the gradient of the streambed.
If one is trying to flow against the stream of social and economic evolution,
  one's chances of success are poor.
Forty years ago, this stream had many twists and turns, and the water moved
In the case of adjacent forest and stream habitats, for example, forests were
  thought to sustain streams in times of need.
Images for stream
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