noun, plural tributaries.
a stream that flows to a larger stream or other body of water.
a person or nation that pays tribute in acknowledgment of subjugation or the like.
(of a stream) flowing into a larger stream or other body of water.
furnishing subsidiary aid; contributory.
paying or required to pay tribute.
paid as tribute.
subject; subordinate: a tributary nation.

1325–75; Middle English (adj. and noun) < Latin tribūtārius of tribute, one who pays tribute. See tribute, -ary

tributarily, adverb
nontributary, adjective
untributarily, adverb
untributary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tributary (ˈtrɪbjʊtərɪ, -trɪ)
n , pl -taries
1.  a stream, river, or glacier that feeds another larger one
2.  a person, nation, or people that pays tribute
3.  (of a stream, etc) feeding a larger stream
4.  given or owed as a tribute
5.  paying tribute

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "paying tribute," from L. tributarius "liable to tax or tribute," from tributum (see tribute). The noun sense of "one who pays tribute" is recorded from early 15c. Meaning "stream that flows into a larger body" is from 1822, from the adj., which is recorded from 1610s in this sense.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tributary   (trĭb'yə-těr'ē)  Pronunciation Key 
A stream that flows into a river, a larger stream, or a lake.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Non-tributary water in storage is rather amazing in that it can be utilized for exchanges.
Where her house used to be, there is now a new tributary of the river.
Lahars from these diverse origins mixed at tributary junctions to create increasingly larger lahars.
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