tributary - noun 1. a stream or river which flows into a larger river The Mole is one of the tributaries of the Thames. A nation, state, or other entity that pays tribute . (an English corporation), whose service covers the main river and several of its principal tributaries. Word of the day Tributaries: a stream that flows into a larger body of water. A ruler or nation that pays tribute. tributary (sense 1) dates from the early 19th century. All Free. Enrich your vocabulary with the English Definition dictionary 1. a branch that flows into the main stream Familiarity information: TRIBUTARY used as a noun is very rare. Definition of tributary written for English Language Learners from the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary with audio pronunciations, usage examples, and count/noncount noun labels. tributary - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: tributary . Late Middle English (in tributary (sense 2)): from Latin tributarius, from tributum (see tribute). A distributary is a river that branches off from the main flow of water, for example in a river delta . tributary (plural tributaries) A natural water stream that flows into a larger river or other body of water. adj. 1. A stream that flows into a larger stream or other body of water. The definition of a tributary is a steam that flows into a larger body of water. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. tributaries definition in English dictionary, tributaries meaning, synonyms, see also 'tributarily',tribute',triturable',tribunate'. Dictionary entry overview: What does tributary mean? 2. A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. 6 synonyms of tributaries from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, plus 13 related words, definitions, and antonyms. The opposite of a tributary is a distributary. 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