Rivulet: A Word Study


noun (riv-yuh-lit)

A small stream; streamlet; brook

Origin: 1580-90; earlier rivolet < Italian rivoletto, diminutive of rivolo < Latin rivulus (small stream); French rivulet; English “riveret”


  • Rivulets of rain gliding down the window pane
  • Ivory creamer cascading in rivulets to the bottom of a clear mug of ebony coffee
  • She cried in small rivulets down her cheeks
  • A blue rivulet in the forest that (when he left his feet in the water) hugged his toes for in consolation for something unknown

I am fascinated by this word today because “rivulet” sounds like its definition: the “r” is a rounded consonant that emulates the curled head of a wave of water, and the following “-iv-u-let” has three bouncing syllables that sound like that wavering wake of a rush of liquid, curling again with the “l” in the final syllable. When I hear this word, my mind’s eye sees lolling, gentle streams of water for me, which is calming. I also like to say this word out loud to feel it on my lips.


(Definition courtesy of Dictionary.com)


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Filed under Non-Fiction, Word Studies

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