From Middle English tributarie (“paying tribute”), from Latin tribūtārius, from tribūtum (“tribute”).
tributary (plural tributaries)
- (hydrology) A natural water stream that flows into a larger river or other body of water.
- Synonym: affluent
- Antonym: distributary
- (anatomy) A vein which drains into a another vein.
- The great saphenous vein is a tributary of the femoral vein.
- A nation, state, or other entity that pays tribute.
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii], page 259, column 2:
- An earneſt Coniuration from the King, / As England was his faithfull Tributary
stream which flows into a larger one
nation, state etc.
tributary (not comparable)
- Related to the paying of tribute.
- subordinate; inferior
- 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: […] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC:
- to grace his tributary gods
- Yielding supplies of any kind; serving to form or make up, a greater object of the same kind, as a part, branch, etc.; contributing.
- The Ohio has many tributary streams, and is itself tributary to the Mississippi.
subordinate, inferior — see subordinate, inferior