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From Spanish resaca, probably from resacar (retake), though possibly from rio seco (dry river) instead.


resaca (plural resacas)

  1. A dry river bed, a former channel of the Rio Grande, found in the southern half of Cameron County, Texas and deep into northeastern portions of the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico.
    • 1848, Fayette Robinson, An Account of the Organization of the Army of the United States; with Biographies of Distinguished Officers of All Grades, volume 2, Philadelphia: E. H. Butler, pages 258–9:
      The road lay over dark resacas and running streams, where volcanic rocks rose above each other, and every detour might have been made a fortress.
      (The term was printed in italics and used as a foreign word.)
    • 1897 December, H. F. Wickham, “The Coleoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley”, in Bulletin From the Laboratories of Natural History of the State University of Iowa, volume 4, number 2, Iowa City, IA, page 97:
      Here and there along the river-bottom, or along the sloughs or “resacas” are found, as Mr. Schwarz has elsewhere stated, “isolated stripes of larger or smaller extent, covered with a dense forest having a thick undergrowth of varied shrubbery and a rich vegetation of lower plants, the like of which is not seen in any other place in southwestern Texas.”
    • [1911 January 12, L. L. Hidinger, The Drainage Situation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, Circular 103, Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, page 8, note a:
      A resaca is an old river channel that was probably cut off by an overflow scouring out a new and more direct course. Some of them were originally short loops in the river, but others are many miles in extent. Their top width varies from about 150 to 350 feet and their depth from 4 or 5 to 20 feet.]
    • 1911 July, D. W. Stookey, “Land Drainage: Irrigated Lands in the Rio Grande Valley Saved by Drainage”, in The Clay-Worker, volume 56, number 1, Indianapolis, IN: T. A. Randall, page 37:
      Where resacas (a “resaca” is an old abandoned river channel sometimes many miles in extent) have been used for storage purposes for several years, seepage almost invariably appears within the area of the more pervious soils.
    • 1933, Anna Allen Wright; Albert Hazen Wright, Handbook of Frogs and Toads: The Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada (Handbooks of American Natural History; 1), Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publ., page 110:
      At 10 p. m., two miles west of Brownsville, in a resaca, found these frogs in small bushes, in weedy clumps, and even grassy tangles in overflowed tomato field adjoining the overflowed resaca.
    • 2013, Philipp Meyer, The Son, Simon & Schuster 2014, p. 264:
      Even the springs at Carrizo are barely flowing; it is said this is a result of the irrigation. The resacas have all gone dry.

See also[edit]





Back-formation from resacar (to distil). Thence from sacar (to extract).


  • IPA(key): /reˈsaka/, [reˈsa.ka]


resaca f (plural resacas)

  1. undertow, surf, backwash (outgoing wave)
  2. (commerce) redraft, redrawing
  3. hangover (illness caused by a previous bout of heavy drinking)
  4. silt deposit
  5. (Mexico, US) dry stream bed; resaca

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Catalan: ressaca
  • English: resaca
  • French: ressac
  • Italian: risacca
  • Portuguese: ressaca

Further reading[edit]