Definition of arroyo in US English:



  • A steep-sided gully formed by the action of fast-flowing water in an arid or semi-arid region, found chiefly in the southwestern US.

    • ‘Very often, arroyos are simply referred to as gullies.’
    • ‘Sauer, who spent a lifetime studying arroyos and erosion control, concurred with Sampson.’
    • ‘Chaparral is found on north- and east-facing slopes on the side of the island facing the mainland and also in arroyos (dry gullies that carry water after a rain) on the Pacific slopes.’
    • ‘He was enchanted by its austerity and declared that any one of these beautiful arroyos and canyons is a living example of the splendor of the ages.’
    • ‘Like the Arizona desert, the Huygens landing site has steep hills, arroyos or dry gullies choked with sediment, and dry flat valleys where liquid pools.’
    • ‘The canyons, arroyos and hillsides here all drain down to create Las Virgenes Creek and Las Virgenes runs down to Malibu Creek.’
    • ‘The site plan responds to the site's topography, respecting natural arroyos and ridges.’
    • ‘The canyons, arroyos, and rincons of the Southwest were the ancestral home of indigenous, prehistoric Pueblo peoples.’
    • ‘We found the Thomas River to be a dry bed - an arroyo - in a basin depressed twenty-five to thirty meters below the level of the sandplain.’
    • ‘Sea-kayak around uninhabited islands and hike desert arroyos, then spend evenings swapping expedition tales with Messner and Kane.’
    • ‘Designed by Scott Miller, the 7,225-yard public course plays through desert vegetation, arroyos and canyons and features dramatic views of the surrounding mountain ranges.’
    • ‘A few seconds later I emerge from an arroyo, and with the road now traveling due north, the Santa Lucias loom directly ahead, a great shrouded wall plunging down to meet the Pacific.’
    • ‘While the Charles and Henry Greene-designed Gamble House, overlooking the arroyo, is the city's best-known Arts and Crafts landmark, the style also became popular in middle-class areas.’
    • ‘In an uncharted desert, arroyos are the roads - critical dispersal corridors for plants, animals, and humans.’
    • ‘Another view appeared: a rocky arroyo with a group of the dark-haired creatures gathered around the carcass of a long-legged furry animal.’
    • ‘The trail was flat under the hot sun, and the arroyos and mesas were becoming familiar.’
    • ‘In the hills along the upper arroyo, there's another famous bridge.’
    • ‘This means the Powder River Basin's soils, arroyos and streams will receive an astounding one billion gallons of water per day.’
    • ‘When scientists hunt for dinosaur tracks they look for areas where ancient layers of sedimentary rock are exposed, such as cliffs, sea coasts, quarries, open-pit mines, desert arroyos, and along the banks of rivers and streams.’
    • ‘Livermore Valley's 26 wineries are hidden amid suburban tracts and scenic arroyos and canyons 39 miles south and east of the Bay Bridge.’
    gorge, abyss, canyon, ravine, gully, gulf, pass, defile, couloir, crevasse, cleft, rift, rent
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Mid 19th century: from Spanish.