tributary

A tributary is a branch that flows into the main stream, like the White River, the Arkansas River, the Yazoo River and the Red River — each a tributary of the mighty Mississippi.

The noun tributary is related to the word tribute and both come from the Latin word tributum, meaning “a thing contributed or paid.” Long ago, a tributary was someone who was forced to pay a person or group in return for protection — namely from those who received the tribute. Today, a tributary is a smaller body of water that flows into a larger one or a contributing factor in something that happens

Primary Meanings of tributary

1.
nadj
a branch that flows into the main stream
(of a stream) flowing into a larger stream
2.
adj
paying tribute
3.
adj
tending to bring about; being partly responsible for
Full Definitions of tributary
1

n a branch that flows into the main stream

Synonyms:
affluent, confluent, feeder
Antonyms:
distributary
a branch of a river that flows away from the main stream and does not rejoin it
Type of:
branch
a stream or river connected to a larger one

adj (of a stream) flowing into a larger stream

Synonyms:
secondary
being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate
2

adj paying tribute

“a tributary colony”
Synonyms:
obligated
caused by law or conscience to follow a certain course
3

adj tending to bring about; being partly responsible for

Synonyms:
conducive, contributing, contributive, contributory
causative
producing an effect

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