Water that is not flowing could be described as 'calm' or 'still'.

How would you describe water that is flowing rapidly, but is not turbulent? (i.e. the flowing water is transparent, not white or distorted)

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    books.google.com/ngrams/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 23 '15 at 15:47
  • I'm not sure that is what I meant, I particularly don't want to personify the water or it's flow. +1 for the relation to my user name though. – Blake Yarbrough Sep 23 '15 at 15:50
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    If you need a purely technical term, you might try looking up laminar flow. – CowperKettle Sep 23 '15 at 15:59
  • @CopperKettle laminar flow is exactly what I was looking for, I'll accept the answer if you create one – Blake Yarbrough Sep 23 '15 at 16:11
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    Voila! But it's better always to clarify the intended context, this way you would get right answers faster! (0: – CowperKettle Sep 23 '15 at 16:12

If you need a purely technical term, you might try looking up laminar flow.

From Wikipedia:

In fluid dynamics, laminar flow (or streamline flow) occurs when a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers.

P.S. I've just recalled the word unperturbed. Checking for "unperturbed stream", "unperturbed flow" on Google brings up not that many results, but let it be here, just in case.


I think "flowing" is actually the best word for your case. The word also means "with graceful movement", so that helps dispel any images of turbulent water.

Streaming or running also give the impression of water that's simply running, not rushing.

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    You can add adverbs for extra clarity, e.g. "Smoothly flowing". – ssav Sep 23 '15 at 16:02

One word used as the opposite of turbulent, at least in reference to water, is "placid."


CopperKettle is correct that "laminar" flow is the technical term for the opposite of "turbulent" flow.

Laminar flow is often described as "smooth". So, if you want a less technical answer, we could say the water is clear and flowing smoothly.


I am surprised no-one has offered "quiet".

  • This is a legitimate option, of course, but you could improve this answer by providing sample usages of "quiet" in this context, or by finding a definition in the dictionary that matches (or both). Synonyms for quiet include tacit and silent, but neither of those would be a good word for describing water. If we assume some learners might have heard of "quiet libraries" but never "quiet water," we could make this answer a lot more helpful if it did more than suggest one word. Otherwise, this is more of a comment than an answer. – J.R. Sep 25 '15 at 16:49
  • Sorry was using my mobile and still am. Example: they rowed across the quiet water of the lake. Implied: if they stopped rowing and listened they might hear the water lapping on the boat but if they were talking they would not have to raise their voices or listen any harder. – nigel222 Sep 25 '15 at 18:04
  • I don't think the phrase quiet waters has much to do with the decibel level of the water. Compare and contrast Def 1 & 2 at Collins. Normally, I would exhort you to edit your answer (as opposed to answering an appeal for more information in a comment), but we aim to avoid this kind of misinformation on the Stack Exchange, so, in this case, it's probably best to leave your assertion down here. As for being on your mobile, remember the goal of SE: to build a library of detailed answers. – J.R. Sep 25 '15 at 19:46

I think you could use the word, 'Trickle' in this case. Like, 'the water is flowing in a trickle,' as opposed to 'the water is gushing from the reservoir, which signifies turbulent flow.

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    Trickle vs gush is more about volume than smoothness; a trickle can often be quite turbulent on a small scale, while a gushing stream might be rather smooth. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 24 '15 at 6:52
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    @SoumyadeepKoley to echo Nathan, Think your turbulent water faucet vs the smooth surface of a wide, but powerful river. – Blake Yarbrough Sep 24 '15 at 13:13

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