1. A major European river carrying more traffic than any other river in the world; flows into the North Sea; Also called: Rhine River, Rhein.
2. Town in Georgia (USA); zip code 31077.
(German Rhein, French Rhin) European river rising in Switzerland and reaching the North Sea via Germany and the Netherlands; length 1,320 km/820 mi. Tributaries include the Moselle and the Ruhr. The Rhine is linked with the Mediterranean by the Rhine–Rhône Waterway, and with the Black Sea by the Rhine–Main–Danube Waterway. It is the longest, and the dirtiest, river in Europe.
The river was severely polluted by a chemical factory fire 1986, as a result of which 30 metric tons of pesticides entered the river, rendering it lifeless for 100–200 km/60–120 mi. The governments of the five countries through which the Rhine flows announced a major clean-up campaign 1987. Severe flooding took place in the Netherlands and Germany in Dec 1993 and Jan 1995.
The Lorelei is a rock in the river in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, with a remarkable echo; the German poet Brentano gave currency to the legend of a siren who lured sailors to death with her song, also the subject of a poem by Heinrich Heine.