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Gustave Courbet's Le ruisseau de la Brême (The Brême Stream, 1866)


From Middle English streem, strem, from Old English strēam (a stream, current, flowing water; flood), from Proto-Germanic *straumaz (stream), from Proto-Indo-European *srowmos (river), from Proto-Indo-European *srew- (to flow). Cognate with Scots strem, streme, streym (stream, river), North Frisian strum (stream), West Frisian stream (stream), Low German Stroom (stream), Dutch stroom (current, flow, stream), German Strom (current, stream), Danish strøm (current, stream, flow), Swedish ström (current, stream, flow), Icelandic straumur (current, stream, torrent, flood), Ancient Greek ῥεῦμα (rheûma, stream, flow), Lithuanian srovė (current, stream).



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stream (plural streams)

  1. A small river; a large creek; a body of moving water confined by banks.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, The Celebrity:
      Now we plunged into a deep shade with the boughs lacing each other overhead, and crossed dainty, rustic bridges over the cold trout-streams, the boards giving back the clatter of our horses' feet: [] .
    • 2013 January 1, Nancy Langston, “The Fraught History of a Watery World”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 1, page 59: 
      European adventurers found themselves within a watery world, a tapestry of streams, channels, wetlands, lakes and lush riparian meadows enriched by floodwaters from the Mississippi River.
  2. A thin connected passing of a liquid through a lighter gas (e.g. air).
    He poured the milk in a thin stream from the jug to the glass.
  3. Any steady flow or succession of material, such as water, air, radio signal or words.
    Her constant nagging was to him a stream of abuse.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 10, The China Governess[1]:
      With a little manœuvring they contrived to meet on the doorstep which was […] in a boiling stream of passers-by, hurrying business people speeding past in a flurry of fumes and dust in the bright haze.
    • 2011 December 21, Helen Pidd, “Europeans migrate south as continent drifts deeper into crisis”, the Guardian:
      A new stream of migrants is leaving the continent. It threatens to become a torrent if the debt crisis continues to worsen.
  4. (sciences) An umbrella term for all moving waters.
  5. (computing) A source or repository of data that can be read or written only sequentially.
  6. (UK, education) A division of a school year by perceived ability.
    All of the bright kids went into the A stream, but I was in the B stream.



Translations to be checked

Related terms[edit]


stream (third-person singular simple present streams, present participle streaming, simple past and past participle streamed)

  1. (intransitive) To flow in a continuous or steady manner, like a liquid.
    • Milton
      beneath those banks where rivers stream
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      When I came to myself I was lying, not in the outer blackness of the Mohune vault, not on a floor of sand; but in a bed of sweet clean linen, and in a little whitewashed room, through the window of which the spring sunlight streamed.
  2. To extend; to stretch out with a wavy motion; to float in the wind.
    A flag streams in the wind.
  3. (Internet) To push continuous data (e.g. music) from a server to a client computer while it is being used (played) on the client.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


Old English[edit]


From Proto-Germanic *straumaz, from Proto-Indo-European *srowmos (river), from *srew- (to flow). Germanic cognates include Old Frisian strām (West Frisian stream), Old Saxon strōm (Low German Stroom), Dutch stroom, Old High German stroum, strōm (German Strom), Old Norse straumr (Norwegian straum, Danish strøm Icelandic straumur). Extra-Germanic cognates include Ancient Greek ῥεῦμα (rheûma), Polish strumień, Albanian rrymë (flow, current).


strēam m

  1. stream


West Frisian[edit]


From Old Frisian strām, from Proto-Germanic *straumaz (stream), from Proto-Indo-European *srowmos (river), from *srew- (to flow). Compare North Frisian strum, English stream, Low German Stroom, Dutch stroom, German Strom, Danish strøm.


stream c

  1. river
  2. stream