Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
May 10th, 2015
Episode 191 of 823 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 10, 2015 is: riparian \ruh-PAIR-ee-un\ adjective : relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater Examples: When the students were studying riparian habitat development, their teacher took them on a field trip to a nearby creek. "But invasive plants slowly overtook the native savannahs, prairie and riparian forest that soil samples have proved were there first." Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, March 31, 2015 Did you know? Riparian came to English from the same source that gave us riverthe Latin riparius, a noun deriving from ripa, meaning "bank" or "shore." First appearing in English in the 19th century, riparian refers to things that exist alongside a river (such as riparian wetlands, habitats, trees, etc.). Some river communities have laws called "riparian rights," referring to the rights of those owning land along a river to have access to the waterway. Note the distinction of this word from littoral, which usually refers to things that occur along the shore of a sea or ocean.