AskDefine | Define seine

Dictionary Definition



1 a French river that flows through the heart of Paris and then northward into the English Channel [syn: Seine River]
2 a large fishnet that hangs vertically, with floats at the top and weights at the bottom v : fish with a seine; catch fish with a seine

User Contributed Dictionary

see Seine



Old English segne < West Germanic *sagina < Latin sagena < Greek σαγήνη ("dragnet"), of unknown origin.


  1. A long net having floats attached at the top and sinkers (weights) at the bottom, used in shallow water for catching fish.



  1. To use a seine, to fish with a seine.



  1. seine (for fishing)



seine , sein

Extensive Definition

The Seine ( in French) is a major river and commercial waterway within the regions of Île-de-France and Haute-Normandie in France. It is also a tourist attraction, with excursion boats offering sightseeing tours of the Rive Droite and Rive Gauche within the city of Paris.
There are over three dozen bridges over the River Seine within Paris and dozens more spanning the river outside of the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Louis-Philippe and Pont Neuf, the latter which dates back to 1607. Outside of the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur.


The Seine is dredged and oceangoing vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) from the sea. Commercial riverboats can use the river from Bar-sur-Seine, 560 km (350 miles) from its mouth. At Paris, the river is only 24 metres (80 feet) above sea level, 445 km (277 miles) from its mouth, making it slow flowing and thus easily navigable. It is 776 km (486 miles) long and flows into the Atlantic Ocean from the continent.
The tidal section of the river, from Le Havre to well beyond Rouen, is followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until the mouth of the Oise river at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Then two more multiple locks at Bougival / Chatou and at Suresnes lift the vessels to the level of the river in Paris, where the mouth of the Marne River is located. Upstream from Paris seven more locks ensure navigation to Saint Mammès (where the Loing mouth is situated). Through an eighth lock the river Yonne is reached at Monterau. From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships can continue upstream the Seine till Nogent-sur-Seine. From there on, the river is only navigable for small craft. All navigation ends abruptly at Marcilly-sur-Seine, where the ancient Canal de la Haute Seine used to allow vessels to continue all the way to Troyes. This canal has been abandoned for many years now.
The average depth of the Seine today at Paris is about eight meters. Until locks were installed to artificially raise the level in the 1800s, however, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, and consisted only of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks (depicted in many illustrations of the period). Today depth is tightly controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is normally filled with water. The average flow of the river is very low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. Special reservoirs upstream help to maintain a constant level for the river through the city, but during periods of extreme runoff significant increases in river level may occur.
A very severe period of high water in January 1910 produced extensive flooding throughout the city. The Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982 and 1999-2000. After a first-level flood alert in 2003, about 100,000 works of art were moved out of Paris, the largest relocation of art since World War II. Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms that would be flooded. A 2002 report by the French government stated the worst-case Seine flood scenario would cost 10 billion Euros, cut telephone service for a million Parisians, leave 200,000 without electricity and 100,000 without gas.

Water quality

Periodically the sewerage systems of Paris experience a failure known as sanitary sewer overflow, often in periods of high rainfall. Under these conditions untreated sewage has been discharged into the Seine. The resulting oxygen deficit is principally caused by allochthonous bacteria larger than one micrometer in size. The specific activity of these sewage bacteria is typically three to four times greater than that of the autochthonous (background) bacterial population. The pH level of the Seine at Pont Neuf has been measured to be 8.46


Legend has it that after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431, her ashes were thrown into the Seine, though counter-claims persist into the present-day.
According to his will, Napoleon, who died in 1821, wished to be buried on the banks of the Seine, a request that was not granted.
Until the 1930s, a towing system using a chain on the bed of the river existed to facilitate movement of barges upriver.
The Seine River was one of the original objectives of Operation Overlord in 1944. The Allies' intention was to reach the Seine by D+90 (ie 90 days after D-Day). That objective was met. An anticipated assault crossing of the river never materialized as German resistance in France crumbled by early September 1944. However, the First Canadian Army did encounter resistance immediately west of the Seine and fighting occurred in the Forêt de la Londe as Allied troops attempted to cut off the escape across the river of parts of the German 7th Army in the closing phases of the Battle of Normandy.
Some of the victims of the Paris massacre of 1961 drowned in the Seine after being thrown off from the Pont Saint-Michel and other locations in Paris.
Dredging in the 1960s mostly eliminated tidal bores on the river, known as “le mascaret.”
In 1991, the banks of the Seine in Paris—the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite—were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in Europe.
The river is popular site for suicides and the disposal of bodies of murder victims. In 2007, 55 bodies were retrieved from its waters; in February 2008, the body of supermodel-turned-activist Katoucha Niane was found there.

Origin of the name

"Seine" is often believed to have come from the Latin sequana, which itself comes from Gaulish (Celtic) Sicauna. The name Sicauna is made up of Celtic sakw, which means "sacred" and comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *sak- (which also gave Latin sacer and sanctus, which in turn gave English sacred and saint), and from a Celtic (or more probably Pre-Indo-European) suffix -onna which means "source, river", and which can be found in the name of many rivers of western Europe (such as the Garonne or the Dordogne). The name "Sakw -onna" ("sacred source", "sacred river"), is also the name of several other western European rivers, such as the Saône River, and possibly also the River Shannon.
Another proposed etymology posits that Sequana is the Latin version of Gaulish Isicauna. Is-Icauna would be the diminutive of Icauna, which was the Gaulish name of the Yonne River. The ancient Gauls considered the Seine to be a tributary of the Yonne, which indeed presents a greater average discharge than the Seine (the river flowing through Paris would be called Yonne if the standard rules of geography were applied). Icauna comes from the Pre-Indo-European roots inka -onna.
Further downstream in what is now Normandy, the Seine was known as Rodo, or Roto, which is a traditional Celtic name for rivers, and is also the original name of the Rhône River (see Rhône article for further explanations). This is proved by the name of Rouen, which was Rotomagos in Gaulish, meaning "field, plain (magos in Gaulish, whose meaning evolved into "market") of the Roto".


During the 19th and the 20th centuries, the Seine has inspired many painters including:

In arts and popular culture


See also

seine in Arabic: السين
seine in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Сена
seine in Breton: Saena
seine in Bulgarian: Сена
seine in Catalan: Sena
seine in Czech: Seina
seine in Welsh: Afon Seine
seine in Danish: Seinen
seine in German: Seine
seine in Estonian: Seine
seine in Modern Greek (1453-): Σηκουάνας
seine in Spanish: Sena
seine in Esperanto: Sejno
seine in Basque: Sena
seine in Persian: رود سن
seine in French: Seine
seine in Galician: Río Sena
seine in Korean: 센 강
seine in Indonesian: Sungai Seine
seine in Italian: Senna
seine in Hebrew: סן
seine in Georgian: სენა (მდინარე)
seine in Kurdish: Çemê Seine
seine in Latin: Sequana
seine in Luxembourgish: Seine (Floss)
seine in Lithuanian: Sena
seine in Hungarian: Szajna
seine in Dutch: Seine
seine in Japanese: セーヌ川
seine in Norwegian: Seinen
seine in Norwegian Nynorsk: Seinen
seine in Occitan (post 1500): Sèina
seine in Polish: Sekwana
seine in Portuguese: Rio Sena
seine in Romanian: Sena (râu)
seine in Russian: Сена (река)
seine in Simple English: Seine
seine in Slovak: Seina
seine in Slovenian: Sena
seine in Serbian: Сена
seine in Finnish: Seine
seine in Swedish: Seine
seine in Thai: แม่น้ำแซน
seine in Vietnamese: Sông Seine
seine in Turkish: Sen Nehri
seine in Ukrainian: Сена
seine in Urdu: دریائے سین
seine in Chinese: 塞纳河
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