Definition of rivulet in English:



  • 1A small stream of water or another liquid.

    ‘sweat ran in rivulets down his back’
    • ‘The titanium container smashed into the ground, and a small rivulet of fuchsia trickled out.’
    • ‘She felt frozen, rooted to her chair, beads of sweat forming and pouring in tiny rivulets down her back.’
    • ‘Beads of perspiration rolled merrily along my hairline and flowed down the shallow rivulet between eye and nose.’
    • ‘Her stockings are ruined and a rivulet of blood trickles from one of her knees.’
    • ‘He wiped upwards from where the rivulet of blood was running down his arm and up to the puncture.’
    • ‘A permanent coating of titanium oxide causes rainwater to slide in cleansing sheets rather than in dirt-streaked rivulets.’
    • ‘The overall presentation of Hero is so tastefully restrained that a tiny rivulet of blood is all that ever flows after a fighter is mortally wounded.’
    • ‘A small rivulet of blood trailed down the screen.’
    • ‘Several rivulets of the water spread toward the perimeter of the room.’
    • ‘Stubbornly, he rolled over and refused to wake, a thin rivulet of droll dripping from his chin.’
    • ‘A small rivulet of water had come off from the main stream, and had formed a clear puddle about two feet across.’
    • ‘Things that Ramis thinks are funny - such as sweat pouring in rivulets off a basketball player's face - don't work, and the saccharine sweet ending strikes the wrong note.’
    • ‘The liquid coursed down the fabric in rivulets and emptied into a semicircular metal basin below, producing the murmurous sound of a steady downpour.’
    • ‘It is possible to swallow, but expect the odd rivulet of saliva to escape down your chin.’
    • ‘Some of the liquid evaporates with a soft hiss; the rest descends in sad rivulets.’
    • ‘Some of the liquids spilled out onto the gallery floor in small puddles and rivulets.’
    • ‘At one point, Parry struck himself in the face, and for the rest of the set he performed with a thin rivulet of blood running down his cheek.’
    • ‘Tilting his canvases at steep angles, Ross drips thin pigmented rivulets from top to bottom.’
    • ‘The sun falling upon my back has turned the dampness beneath my hair to wet, a tiny rivulet of sweat trickling down my spine.’
    • ‘In one he mixed oil-and water-based paint to create tiny rivulets where the two come into contact.’
    trickle, dribble, drip, drop, droplet, stream, runnel
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    1. 1.1literary A very small river or stream.
      • ‘Tracing the rivulet a hundred paces from the highway, she found the spring that fed it.’
      • ‘It took her to a small rivulet that branched off from the main rush of the creek.’
      • ‘Arthur was the first one to greet the rivulet; nearly falling off the ten-foot cliff edge that dangled it's face over the waters of the creek.’
      brook, rill, runnel, streamlet, freshet
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  • 2A brownish European moth with white markings, occurring in rough grassland.

    Perizoma affinitatum, family Geometridae


Late 16th century: alteration of obsolete riveret (from French, literally ‘small river’), perhaps suggested by Italian rivoletto, diminutive of rivolo, based on Latin rivus ‘stream’.