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What's the difference between these names of moving water?

What's the difference between creek, brook, run, and river?   I need to name a small river in my novel and was thinking about what are the difference between these words.

marked as duplicate by James Waldby - jwpat7, Cameron, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, FumbleFingers, Robusto Jul 4 '12 at 17:55

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  • Generally speaking, all the first three just mean small river, but I think run is relatively uncommon/dialectal. Probably just a personal interpretation, but I tend to think of a creek as a small watercourse that over time has carved a lower bed than a brook/stream. Not that the water itself is deep - just that its surface is often significantly lower than surrounding ground level. – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '12 at 17:42
  • Not beck or burn, then? – Brian Hooper Jul 4 '12 at 17:48

As Jay Elston wrote in reply to the question "What's the difference between these names of moving water?",

Generally, the difference is size: you can step over a brook, jump over a creek, wade across a stream, and swim across a river. But the distinction between them (especially creek and stream) is somewhat hazy, and depends on who named them and when they were named. A run (such as Bull Run in Virginia) is a "small stream".

I agree with the ranking in that previous answer, but not with the criteria, which are not conclusive because many exceptions exist.

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