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meander m (definite singular meanderen, indefinite plural meandere or meandre or meandrer, definite plural meanderne or meandrene)
1570s, \"confusion, intricacy\" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin meander \"a winding course,\" from Greek Maiandros, name of a river in Caria noted for its winding course (the Greeks used the name figuratively for winding patterns). In English in reference to river courses from 1590s. Sense of \"a winding course, a winding or turning in a passage\" is from 1630s. Adjectival forms that have been tried are meandrine (1846); meandrous (1650s); meandrian (c. 1600); meandry (1610s).
\"flow in a winding course\" (of rivers), 1610s, from meander (n.). Of a person or persons, \"to travel on a meandering river\" (1821), then \"to wander aimlessly\" (1831), which was perhaps influenced by confusion with maunder [OED]. Related: Meandered; meandering.
\"Though the etymology of maunder is uncertain, it is clear that it is not a corruption of meander\" [Fowler], but the two words seem to have influenced each other. Meaning \"to wander in talking like one drunken or foolish\" is by 1831. Fowler writes that maunder is \"best confined to speech, & suggests futility rather than digression ... & failure to reach an end rather than loitering on the way to it.\" Related: Maundered; maundering.
A meandering stream has a single channel that winds snakelike through its valley, so that the distance 'as the stream flows' is greater than 'as the crow flies.' As water flows around these curves, the outer edge of water is moving faster than the inner. This creates an erosional surface on the outer edge (a cut bank) and a depostional surface on the inner edge (a point bar). Where the bends of two meanders meet, they bypass the curve of river, creating an oxbow lake which may then be infilled with overwash sediment.Meanders change position by eroding sideways and slightly downstream. The sideways movement occurs because the maximum velocity of the stream shifts toward the outside of the bend, causing erosion of the outer bank. At the same time the reduced current at the inside of the meander results in the deposition of coarse sediment, especially sand. Thus by eroding its outer bank and depositing material along its inner bank, a stream moves sideways without changing its channel size. Due to the slope of the channel, erosion is more effective on the downstream side of a meander. Therefore, in addition to growing laterally, the bends also gradually migrate down the valley.
The terms Greek key, fret, and meander are all names for a decorative device employed on buildings and objects beginning in ancient Greece and continuing to modern times.[i] The device comes in a variety of forms. At its most basic, it is a band consisting of short horizontal and vertical fillets connected to each other at right angles. It has been called a Greek key because an individual section vaguely resembles a primitive key. The labeling of it as a meander results from its continuous back and forth progression, recalling the winding course of the Meander River in Asia Minor, now present-day Turkey. The unbroken, interlocking pattern made it a symbol of both unity and infinity. What I define as the complex Greek Meander consists of two parallel strips of meandering fillets crossing one another at continuous intervals. The designation is my own since I can find no specific definition for this distinctive form of Greek fret. This illustrated essay is intended to show the early origins of the complex Greek meander and to offer examples of its use as an embellishment for more than two millennia. I hope it might encourage the application of this timeless, visually engaging detail as an ornamental accent for contemporary classical architecture.
A very early depiction of the complex Greek meander is found not in a work of architecture but in a recently discovered object. In 1977, archaeologists working in northern Greece unearthed what is believed to be the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great (died 354 B.C).[iii] Among the numerous artifacts found in the tomb was an elaborate ceremonial shield, richly decorated with figures and motifs in gold and ivory. A close look at the border shows a complex Greek meander worked into the pattern with ivory inlay. While the shield is an exceptional artifact, we should note that the meander was commonly used as a decorative band on Greek pottery, although the complex version is found infrequently on these ceramics.
While I had hoped to offer a 21st Century example of the complex Greek meander, I have yet to find one, although one might indeed exist. Nevertheless, as a design of pure, straightforward geometry, its use would be compatible with architectural works of almost any style, particularly contemporary classicism.
Constantine and colleagues recently analyzed nearly three decades of Landsat imagery of the Amazon Basin. They found that the greater the amount of sediment from external sources (glacial, volcanic, or human activity), the more likely the river was to meander; rivers and streams with lower sediment loads wandered less. Those high-sediment rivers also saw more cutoff events, where crescent-shaped oxbow lakes are formed.
\"Natural habitats that exist within floodplains depend on river migration to both renew habitat and maintain the natural functioning of existing habitat,\" Constantine said. \"If we want to ensure a naturally functioning river environment, then we need to ensure the presence of an erodible river corridor and the supplies of riverbed sediment that are required for sustaining meandering river dynamics.\" 781b155fdc