| rain-swollen Scioto River, March 2012, Dublin, Ohio|
(click to embiggen)
Is there a difference between a boy river and a girl river? Are there guidelines for determining the gender of a river? The English language has no masculine or feminine articles, our nouns are neuter. But some genderizing in the river naming department is going on, like “Old Man River” for the mighty Mississippi.
Many times if a river is rushing, powerful, dangerous, it is thought of as male. On the other hand, if it is a gentle, curvaceous, easy on the eyes, it is considered female. In this case, most would agree, the lovely Scioto definitely qualifies as female.
Things aren’t always this simple. There are no cut-and-dry rules about river names and genders. Names vary by characteristics, culture, geography, and history. Many river names have no gender, like the Nile, at 4,130 miles, generally considered the world’s longest river.
The next time you encounter a river, ask a local if it is male or female. The answer might surprise you with interesting culture of the history of the river or region. Just one of those random things I like to think about...
No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.