So what do you talk about on a road trip?

The usual…gossip about common acquaintances, family, food, work.

But then we got into words and (is this for real?) definitions. Shades of Craig Prosser! He and I used to cruise the byways playing word games. But Newell and me?

When do you call this a brook, a creek, or a stream?  (or a river for that matter)

When do you call this a brook, a creek, or a stream? (or a river for that matter)

It all began when we were shooting at Woods Lake. There was a meandering stream…forget the name, but it was a creek. I wondered why it wasn’t called a brook. So now we have three terms that all seem to mean the same. Small flowing water.

That nibbled at our brains off and on all throughout the trip. Here are the answers, from my (antiquated) Random House Dictionary of the English Language.

Brook – a small natural stream of fresh water
Creek – a watercourse or channel in a coastal marsh
Stream – a body of water flowing to a watercourse such as a river, rivulet, or brook
River – a natural stream of water of a fairly large size flowing in a definite course or channel

Interesting, but not quite specific enough for me, so online I found this link, which made more sense.

a stream is smaller than a river, a creek is smaller than a stream but larger than a brook; stream, brook, creek, and rivulet are applied interchangeably to any small river

Finally…I have reference points and can visualize. I’m not the only one who wonders – my bout of curiousity was preceded by this blog.

Hey, that’s what it’s all about. If you mis-use the terms boat and ship around someone who knows, be prepared to be corrected. Don’t ever say you are filming (around me) if you are using a tape or tapeless camera. Be specific, know what you are writing about. Words are bullets – using the right words properly helps you target and hit your audience.


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