The term freshet is most commonly used to describe a spring thaw resulting from snow and ice melt in rivers located in the northern latitudes of North America, particularly Canada. A spring freshet can sometimes last several weeks on large river systems, resulting in significant inundation of flood plains as the snow pack melts in the river's catchment area.
The term can also refer to the following:
- A flood resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw. Whereas heavy rain often causes a flash flood, a spring thaw event is generally a more incremental process, depending upon local climate and topography.
- A stream, river or flood of fresh water which empties into the ocean, usually flowing through an estuary.
- A small stream of fresh water, irrespective of its outflow.
- A pool of fresh water, according to Samuel Johnson and followed in Thomas Sheridan's dictionary, but this might have been a misinterpretation on Johnson's part, and it is at best not a common usage.
- Gieck, Jack (1988). A Photo Album of Ohio's Canal Era, 1825–1913. Kent State University Press. pp. xvii.
- Brown, Lesley (1993). The New shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles. Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon. ISBN 0-19-861271-0.
- Bonnier Corporation (1907-01 – 1907–06). Popular Science. Bonnier Corporation. pp. 68–. ISSN 0161-7370. Check date values in:
- Samuel Johnson (1773). A Dictionnary of the English Language. pp. 196–.
- Thomas Sheridan (1789). A Complete Dictionary of the English Language, Both with Regard to Sound and Meaning ...: To which is Prefixed a Prosodial Grammar. C. Dilly. pp. 286–.
- Timothy Dwight (1822). New-England and New-York. pp. 286–.
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