Click on a Theme below to go to a summary of the four posts about that Theme.

Rivers, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: Miscellaneous Associations, Records, Expressions

The subthemes of Rivers discussed above arise from a movie symbolized by bucolic fly fishing, Coleridge’s vision of a capital city and its river Alph, a symbolic ferry, and a Pissarro painting of the Seine River in central Paris. We consider more subthemes that do not link so directly to any of the four works of art.

Miscellaneous Associations: In the above posts, I passed on a number of ideas that might have become subthemes or been woven into the subthemes addressed. What are the sources of names of rivers? What are synonyms of “river”, the word for the largest version, but flowing bodies of water that are smaller might be called a runnel, stream, streamlet, tributary, creek, rill, rivulet, freshet, or brook. I didn’t mention that house boats on rivers are plentiful. Geographers can struggle to determine the precise spot where a river originates, its headwater (see the first entry in Records, below). The posts for this theme refer to each of the previous 20 themes – can you spot them? Waterfalls and gorges, or even the Grand Canyon, represent part of the natural beauty of rivers. Millions of people find employment directly related to rivers, but I let that topic pass.

Records: Here is a sample of the longest, most expensive, and other superlatives associated with Rivers.

Longest – The Nile in Africa at 4,258 miles [6,853 km long] (although some say that the Amazon is longer, depending on where you determine its headwaters to be). In addition to Egypt, it runs through Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, and Congo-Kinshasa. Times of India

Deepest – Congo, with a maximum depth of 720 feet. World Atlas

Most volume – The Amazon is considered the world’s largest river by volume. National Geographic

Oldest – In the United States, the Susquehanna River is considered to be the oldest major river system (more than 300 million years old). It is older than the Nile (30 million years old), the Colorado River (6-70 million years old), and the Ganges River (50 million years old), according to But the Finke River in central Australia is believed to be the oldest river in the world because the oldest parts may be over 340 million years old.

Longest river contained within a single U.S. state – Trinity River, which flows through Dallas, stretches 710 miles entirely in Texas. Wikipedia

Tallest dam – Nurek Dam on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan soars 984 feet (300 meters). US Bureau of Reclamation

Largest hydroelectric power dam – Three Gorges Dam in China has a generating capacity of 22,500 megawatts. U.S. Dept. of the Interior

Expressions: Consider a collection of sayings that refer to rivers or related ideas in a figurative sense. The 20 below come from various sources and my own experience. I exclude direct uses of the theme word as well as proverbs Online sources for the sayings listed alphabetically below include Phrases,, and The Free Dictionary.

*cross the Rubicon (take an irreversible step)
*cry me a river (weep profusely or excessively in the presence of another person)
*don’t change horses in mid-stream (stick with your leaders in a crisis)
*don’t cross the bridge until you reach the river (wait for the right time, not prematurely)
*go with the flow (don’t create problems, get along by going along)
*God willing and the creek don’t rise (hopefully something will happen)
*open the flood gates (unleash an issue that will be large)
*over the river and through the woods (trying to achieve a task, often with difficulty)
*paddling upstream (going against the grain on a problem)
*pass the river (die)
*riverboat queen (paddle steamer on the Mississippi)
*runs me like a river (navigating something or someone)
*sell someone down the river (betray another for personal benefit)
*send someone up the river (sentence a person to prison)
*still waters run deep (much might be happening to a person, even if she doesn’t show it)
*that’s water over the dam/under the bridge (nothing can be done about what happened)
*up a creek without a paddle (in a jam and without resources to deal with it)
*we’ll cross that river when we come to it (too early to decide or think about an issue)
*you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink (people have to help themselves)
*you can’t step in the same river twice (nothing stays the same)

comments powered by Disqus