Glen, Stream, River: 58 Words to Describe Bodies of Water

Nicholas C. Rossis

Electra and Nicholas | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Hard to believe it’s been over 20 years

For my 25th birthday, our good friend Mike took Electra and me for hill-climbing to the McDonalds stronghold outside of Edinburgh. On our way there, we passed two streams, which Mike identified as Glen Doom and Glen Sorrow.

Their charming names notwithstanding, I wondered what the difference between a glen and a stream is. Some 20 years later, I finally have my answer, courtesy of Meg Neal of Atlas Obscura. who has compiled 58 different ways of describing bodies of water,

Size Matters: Starting Small

As Meg explains, the distinction between the various terms is usually defined by size. As the old adage goes:

you can step over a brook, jump over a creek, wade across a stream and swim across a river.

To describe a small stream, you might use any of the following:

  • A stream (#1) tends…

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2 thoughts on “Glen, Stream, River: 58 Words to Describe Bodies of Water


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