AskDefine | Define wadi

Dictionary Definition

wadi n : gully or streambed in northern Africa and the Middle East that remains dry except during rainy season

User Contributed Dictionary



From Arabic (wādin, valley, riverbed, ravine).


  1. A valley, gully, or stream-bed in northern Africa and southwest Asia that remains dry except during the rainy season.



From Arabic (wādin, valley, riverbed, ravine).



Extensive Definition

This article is about an Arabic term for valleys or dry riverbeds. For other uses of 'Vadi' see: Vadi (disambiguation).
Wadi ( ) (also: Vadi) is traditionally a valley. In some cases it can refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain. Compare arroyo (creek), canyon, gulch, wash and gully.
The term is very widely found in Arabic toponyms. Wadis tend to be associated with centers of human population because sub-surface water is sometimes available in wadis.
Crossing wide wadis at certain times of the year can be dangerous, because of unexpected flash floods. Such flash floods cause many deaths each year in Saudi Arabia and many other Middle Eastern countries.
In North Africa the transcription oued is used. In southwestern Africa, the term rivier is used, which is the Afrikaans word for "river". The Hebrew term nahal (נחל)and Hindi/Urdu term "Nala" is synonymous in meaning and usage.
Some names of Spanish rivers are derived from Andalusi Arabic toponyms where was used to mean a permanent river, for example Guadalquivir from al-wādī al-kabīr = "the great river".

Wadi deposits

Wadis are the streams in a desert environment and generally are dry year round except after a rain. The desert environment is characterized by a sudden but frequent heavy rainfall. As rainfall occurs near hill ranges, wadis usually form near a hilly terrain. The deposition of wadi is rapid because of the sudden loss of the velocity and absorption of the water into the ground. Fluvial activity in a desert environment is also characterized as flash floods.

Other references

Job speaks of his friends whom he calls brothers as being like these wadis. The Jewish Study Bible transliterated the word "brook" in Bible verse Job||6:15 for the word "wadi". The commentator notes, "Wadi, a seasonal stream that may be dangerously overflowing in winter and dry in summer". Albert Barnes (1798–1870), in his commentator books notes, "The idea here is, that travelers in a caravan would approach the place where water had been found before, but would find the fountain dried up or the stream lost in the sand; and when they looked for refreshment, they found only disappointment. The reference to this verse is found in Bible verse Proverbs||25:19 where it reads that confidence in a treacherous person, an unfaithful person, is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint." Barnes points to their ineffectiveness rather than emphasizing the pain caused by the two ailments.
wadi in Bengali: ওয়াদি
wadi in Catalan: Uadi
wadi in Czech: Vádí
wadi in Danish: Wadi
wadi in German: Wadi
wadi in Estonian: Vadi
wadi in Spanish: Uadi
wadi in Esperanto: Uedo
wadi in French: Oued
wadi in Italian: Uadi
wadi in Hebrew: ואדי
wadi in Hungarian: Vádi
wadi in Dutch: Wadi (rivierdal)
wadi in Newari: वादी
wadi in Japanese: ワジ
wadi in Norwegian: Wadi
wadi in Polish: Ued
wadi in Russian: Вади
wadi in Finnish: Wadi
wadi in Swedish: Wadi
wadi in Vietnamese: Wadi
wadi in Ukrainian: Ваді
wadi in Chinese: 乾谷

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abysm, abyss, adolescent stream, aqueduct, arroyo, beck, bed, bottom, bottom glade, bottoms, bourn, box canyon, braided stream, branch, breach, break, brook, brooklet, burn, canal, canyon, cavity, channel, chap, chasm, check, chimney, chink, cleft, cleuch, clough, col, coulee, couloir, crack, cranny, creek, creek bed, crevasse, crevice, crick, culvert, cut, cwm, dale, defile, dell, dike, dingle, ditch, donga, draw, dry bed, excavation, fault, fissure, flaw, flowing stream, flume, fluviation, fracture, fresh, freshet, furrow, gap, gape, gash, gill, glen, gorge, groove, grove, gulch, gulf, gully, gullyhole, headrace, hole, incision, intervale, irrigation ditch, joint, kill, kloof, lazy stream, leak, lunar rill, meandering stream, midchannel, midstream, millstream, moat, moving road, navigable river, notch, nullah, opening, pass, passage, race, racing stream, ravine, rent, rift, rime, river, river bed, riverway, rivulet, run, rundle, runlet, runnel, rupture, scissure, seam, sike, slit, slot, sluice, spill stream, spillbox, spillway, split, strath, stream, stream action, stream bed, streamlet, streamway, subterranean river, swash, swash channel, tailrace, trench, trough, vale, valley, void, water carrier, water channel, water furrow, water gap, water gate, watercourse, waterway, waterworks
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