Is the term "oxbow lake" used in both American and British English to describe billabongs?
Wiktionary has a definition for oxbow lake, but doesn't describe which varieties of English use it.
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According to Ngram the expression "oxbow lake" is used both in AmE and BrE.
The expression was originally an AmE one:
- also ox-bow, mid-14c., "wooden collar for an ox," from ox + bow (n.1). Meaning "semicircular bend in a river" is from 1797, American English (New England); meaning "curved lake left after an oxbow meander has been cut off by a change in the river course" is from 1898. The reference is to similarity of shape.
From National geographic:
People often create oxbow lakes. The Mississippi River is shorter now than it was in the 19th century, for instance, because engineers have cut off hundreds of meanders. This created hundreds of oxbow lakes. These lakes eventually dried up to create acres of land for farming, housing, and industry.
An oxbow lake gets its name from the U-shaped collar placed around an oxs neck to which a plow is attached. It can also be called a horseshoe lake, a loop lake, or a cutoff lake.