Definition of freshet in US English:



  • 1The flood of a river from heavy rain or melted snow.

    • ‘This was mainly due to increased flow and suspended sediment during summer and fall freshets.’
    • ‘Major floods and annual freshets continued to pummel the structure with debris.’
    • ‘The last time that happened was in 1894 when a spring freshet sent water surging through the bridge at Eburne and over the north side of dykes.’
    • ‘Remember, the Fraser cutthroat fishery is hugely impacted, if not terminated, when the freshet begins.’
    • ‘Thousands of citizens of Grozny who lost their homes as a result of a freshet last year have not gotten new flats so far.’
    • ‘We have little save tradition respecting storms, freshets, and earthquakes in the olden times.’
    • ‘Natural freshets, prolonged infusions of freshwater from the rain or rivers, can kill oysters in a matter of weeks, and Fox suspected that something similar had destroyed his crop.’
    • ‘A meeting about the 2007 freshet and potential for flooding was held by the Township of Langley and the City of Abbotsford at Trinity Western University on Tuesday, May 15, and was attended by more than 400 residents.’
    • ‘Nitrogen concentrations, which had remained level before the freshets, have risen, according to the data.’
    • ‘Reduction in freshets and minor floods would reduce transportation of plant propagules.’
    • ‘Understanding the variability of the freshet as well as its sensitivity to climate change will be critical in the future in areas with a mining heritage, such as much of the Yukon, Alaska, and Russia.’
    • ‘It wasn't until a concrete wall was installed upstream that the destructive periodic spring freshets could be controlled.’
    • ‘Particularly high spring freshets would flood the quarries and put off the opening of the season.’
    • ‘After another couple of minutes she extended one leg to reach over and dip her foot in the freshet.’
    • ‘The freshets also provided enough water for large fish like sturgeons to maneuver their way upstream.’
    • ‘The annual spring snowmelt freshets of the Fraser River system pose the principal flood hazard to those occupying its floodplain areas.’
    inundation, swamping, deluge
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A rush of fresh water flowing into the sea.
      • ‘The spring freshet and clean up in the fall of 1897 electrified the whole mining world.’
      • ‘This was perhaps due to the fall-spawning habit of the brook trout; the eggs of the spring-spawning rainbow and cutthroat were more likely to be washed out by freshets following spring snowmelt.’
      • ‘Below the football players and dog-walkers of Marine Park is a culvert that, in theory, still carries the freshet which once thinned the salt water of the Stromme Kill.’
      • ‘As spring freshets go in British Columbia's Central Interior, the year 2000 was relatively sane.’
      • ‘Drifts, or mud, or freshets do not suspend our social intercourse.’
      • ‘The springs and freshets which had been loosed in the course of the city's excavation had also been trained, and streams ran cheerfully down rough, natural-looking beds carefully inset into the smooth floors of passages and halls.’
      • ‘Summer freshets flush and erode the sand, keeping the ridges moving.’
      • ‘For example, freshets can displace individuals, wash out nests, and locally eliminate populations.’


Late 16th century: probably from Old French freschete, diminutive of freis ‘fresh’.