a. A flow of water in a channel or bed, as a brook, rivulet, or small river.
b. A steady current in such a flow of water.
2. A steady current of a fluid.
3. A large amount or number moving or occurring in steady succession: a stream of commuters; a stream of insults. See Synonyms at flow.
4. A trend, course, or drift, as of opinion, thought, or history.
5. A beam or ray of light.
6. Chiefly British A course of study to which students are tracked.
7. Computers A steady flow of data.
v. streamed, stream·ing, streams
1. To flow in a stream or current.
2. To pour forth or give off a stream; flow: My eyes were streaming with tears.
3. To move or arrive in large numbers; pour: Traffic was streaming by. Fan mail streamed in.
4. To extend, wave, or float outward: The banner streamed in the breeze.
a. To leave a continuous trail of light.
b. To give forth a continuous stream of light rays or beams; shine.
1. To emit, discharge, or exude (a body fluid, for example).
2. Computers To transmit or receive (audio or video content), especially over the internet, in small, sequential packets that permit the content to be played continuously as it is being received and without saving it to a hard disk.
In or into operation or production: a new power plant soon to go on stream.
[Middle English streme, from Old English strēam; see sreu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.