Une rivière, un fleuve

Another insight mentioned that there are two French words for "river", rivière (f) and fleuve(m).

There are two ways of distinguishing them. The most common one is that a fleuve is a major river. At school children learn about the fleuves of France: Seine, Rhin, Rhône, Loire, Garonne and Meuse. Le Fleuve Bleu is the Yangtze or Chang Jiang.

The other definition of "un fleuve" is a more specialist (Geography, Hydrology) definition and means a river which discharges into the sea so it is not a tributary of another river.

The rivers mentioned above fit both definitions, My local river is "une rivière" by the first definition and "un fleuve" by the second. It is three and a half metres wide and about one metre deep.

You can use "rivière" for any of the "fleuves" unless you are taking a Geography exam, writing something formal or you just need another way of saying it is a major river.

August 1, 2012


Thanks. I like this kind of information.

June 4, 2013

THANKS!!! ;)

February 28, 2017

thanks this is very useful

August 31, 2017

that's very useful, thanks

December 11, 2018
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