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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pluvial \Plu"vi*al\, a. [L. pluvialis, fr. pluvia rain: cf. F. pluvial. See Plover.]

  1. Of or pertaining to rain; rainy. [R.]

  2. (Geol.) Produced by the action of rain.


Pluvial \Plu"vi*al\, n. [LL. pluviale a garment which keeps off the rain: cf. F. pluvial.] A priest's cope.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s, "pertaining to rain," from French pluvial (12c.), from Latin pluvialis "pertaining to rain, rainy, rain-bringing," from (aqua) pluvia "rain (water)," from fem. of pluvius "rainy," from plovere "to rain," from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, to swim" (cognates: Sanskrit plavate "navigates, swims;" Greek plynein "to wash," plein "to navigate," ploein "to float, swim," plotos "floating, navigable;" Armenian luanam "I wash;" Old English flowan "to flow;" Old Church Slavonic plovo "to flow, navigate;" Lithuanian pilu, pilti "to pour out," plauju, plauti "to swim, rinse").\n\n


a. 1 Of, pertaining to, or produced by rain 2 (context geology English) occurring through the action of rain n. (context geology English) a rainy period


adj. marked by rain; "their vacation turned out to be a series of rainy days" [syn: rainy, pluvious]


In geology and climatology, a pluvial is either a modern climate characterized by relatively high precipitation or an interval of time of variable length, decades to thousands of years, during which a climate characterized by either relatively high precipitation or humidity. Subdivisions of a pluvial, which characterized by relatively high precipitation, is known as a subpluvials. Formally, pluvials were equated with glacial stages of the Quaternary. However, pluvials, as in equatorial regions, can also occur during interglacial stages. Lower latitudes have even experienced major pluvials in early to mid- Holocene times. In geomorphology, pluvial refers to a geologic episode, change, process, deposit, or feature that is the result of the action or effects of rain. Sometimes, it also refers to the fluvial action of rainwater flowing in a stream channel, including a flood, known as a pluvial flood, that is the direct result of excessive precipitation.

Usage examples of "pluvial".

Old Stone Age and was practically, by pluvial standards, a modern man.

Sometime during this last pluvial there disappeared from Africa the last manlike rivals of man as we know him -- Neanderthal Man, Rhodesian Man, and others caught in evolutionary stagnation.

But he could not even visualize this country as it must have been in pluvial times.

Wet, warm, pluvial times, the interglacial periods, melted the ice, creating torrents that scoured the mountains and plains and sped off to add their volume to the prodigious south-flowing river.

Great Salt Lake, which now ended miles to the west, was a big mother pluvial lake that put this spot almost a thousand feet underwater, with beaches miles to the east, up in the ramparts of the Wasatch Range.

It was an impression of being in the shop of a merchant of stuffs who draped before his eyes sendals and taffetas, brocades, satins, damasks, velvets, and bows, fringes and furbelows, and then stoles, pluvials, chasu­bles, dalmatics.