Difference Wiki

Canal vs. Stream: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 27, 2023
A canal is a human-made waterway constructed for navigation, irrigation, or drainage, while a stream is a natural flowing body of water, typically smaller than a river.

Key Differences

Canal and stream represent two distinct types of waterways, with the primary difference being that a canal is man-made, while a stream is a natural watercourse. A canal is typically constructed for specific purposes such as irrigation, navigation, or water supply, indicating a certain level of intention and design. In contrast, a stream forms naturally due to the flow of water on the earth's surface, typically originating from a source like a spring or a snowmelt and moving towards a larger body of water, showing the untamed and organic aspect of nature.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
While both canals and streams serve as conduits for water, the flow in a canal is usually controlled, often by locks or gates, to facilitate its intended use. This reflects the human intervention and regulation present in canals. In comparison, streams have an uncontrolled flow, driven by gravity and the natural slope of the terrain, portraying the spontaneous and dynamic character of natural watercourses.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
Canals are generally characterized by their uniform and linear appearance, denoting the planning and construction involved in their creation. They often have defined widths and depths to meet their functional requirements. Conversely, streams can exhibit variability in their width, depth, and course, adapting to the natural landscapes they traverse. This variability in streams emphasizes their inherent diversity and adaptability to environmental conditions.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
In terms of ecosystem, canals may not always support a diverse range of flora and fauna due to their artificial nature and possible alterations in water quality. On the other hand, streams often host diverse ecosystems, providing habitats for various aquatic and terrestrial species, underscoring the ecological importance and vitality of natural water bodies.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Comparison Chart

Origin

Human-made
Natural
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Purpose

Constructed for navigation, irrigation, or water supply.
Flows naturally, serving ecological purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Flow Control

Typically has controlled flow.
Exhibits uncontrolled, natural flow.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Appearance

Uniform and linear.
Variable and adapts to the landscape.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Ecosystem

May lack diverse ecosystems.
Often supports diverse ecosystems.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Canal and Stream Definitions

Canal

An artificial watercourse designed for irrigation.
The canal provides essential irrigation to the arid region.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Stream

A small, natural flowing body of water.
The stream winds through the forest, providing water to the wildlife.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Canal

A constructed channel filled with water used for power generation.
The canal directs water to the hydroelectric power plant.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Stream

A continuous flow of liquid or gas.
A stream of water came out from the broken pipe.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Canal

A human-made waterway constructed for navigation.
The Panama Canal is a key conduit for international maritime trade.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Stream

A continuous flow of data or information.
The data stream was transmitting information rapidly.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Canal

A tube or tubular passage in an organ or a body structure.
The birth canal plays a vital role during childbirth.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Stream

A movement of people or things in a steady, continuous manner.
A stream of commuters flowed out of the subway station.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Canal

An artificial waterway or artificially improved river used for travel, shipping, or irrigation.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A course of water that is usually smaller than a river and larger than a brook.
The serene stream is a habitat for various freshwater fishes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Canal

(Anatomy) A tube, duct, or passageway.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A flow of water in a channel or bed, as a brook, rivulet, or small river.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

(Astronomy) One of the faint, hazy markings resembling straight lines on early telescopic images of the surface of Mars.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A steady current in such a flow of water.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

To dig an artificial waterway through
Canal an isthmus.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A steady current of a fluid.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

To provide with an artificial waterway or waterways.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A large amount or number moving or occurring in steady succession
A stream of commuters.
A stream of insults.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

An artificial waterway or artificially improved river used for travel, shipping, or irrigation.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A trend, course, or drift, as of opinion, thought, or history.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

(anatomy) A tubular channel within the body.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A beam or ray of light.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

(astronomy) One of the faint, hazy markings resembling straight lines on early telescopic images of the surface of Mars; see Martian canals
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Chiefly British A course of study to which students are tracked.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

To dig an artificial waterway in or to (a place), especially for drainage
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(Computers) A steady flow of data.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

To travel along a canal by boat
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To flow in a stream or current.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

An artificial channel filled with water and designed for navigation, or for irrigating land, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To pour forth or give off a stream; flow
My eyes were streaming with tears.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

A tube or duct; as, the alimentary canal; the semicircular canals of the ear.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To move or arrive in large numbers; pour
Traffic was streaming by. Fan mail streamed in.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

A long and relatively narrow arm of the sea, approximately uniform in width; - used chiefly in proper names; as, Portland Canal; Lynn Canal.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To extend, wave, or float outward
The banner streamed in the breeze.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

(astronomy) an indistinct surface feature of Mars once thought to be a system of channels; they are now believed to be an optical illusion
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To leave a continuous trail of light.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

A bodily passage or tube lined with epithelial cells and conveying a secretion or other substance;
The tear duct was obstructed
The alimentary canal
Poison is released through a channel in the snake's fangs
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To give forth a continuous stream of light rays or beams; shine.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

Long and narrow strip of water made for boats or for irrigation
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To emit, discharge, or exude (a body fluid, for example).
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

Provide (a city) with a canal
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(Computers) To transmit or receive (audio or video content), especially over the internet, in small, sequential packets that permit the content to be played continuously as it is being received and without saving it to a hard disk.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Canal

A duct or channel serving to convey liquids.
The root canal in teeth serves as a passage for nerves and blood vessels.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Stream

A small river; a large creek; a body of moving water confined by banks.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A thin connected passing of a liquid through a lighter gas (e.g. air).
He poured the milk in a thin stream from the jug to the glass.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Any steady flow or succession of material, such as water, air, radio signal or words.
Her constant nagging was to him a stream of abuse.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

All moving waters.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(computing) A source or repository of data that can be read or written only sequentially.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(figurative) A particular path, channel, division, or way of proceeding.
Haredi Judaism is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A division of a school year by perceived ability.
All of the bright kids went into the A stream, but I was in the B stream.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A live stream.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(intransitive) To flow in a continuous or steady manner, like a liquid.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(intransitive) To extend; to stretch out with a wavy motion; to float in the wind.
A flag streams in the wind.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(transitive) To discharge in a stream.
The soldier's wound was streaming blood.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

(Internet) To push continuous data (e.g. music) from a server to a client computer while it is being used (played) on the client.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A current of water or other fluid; a liquid flowing continuously in a line or course, either on the earth, as a river, brook, etc., or from a vessel, reservoir, or fountain; specifically, any course of running water; as, many streams are blended in the Mississippi; gas and steam came from the earth in streams; a stream of molten lead from a furnace; a stream of lava from a volcano.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A beam or ray of light.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Anything issuing or moving with continued succession of parts; as, a stream of words; a stream of sand.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A continued current or course; as, a stream of weather.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Current; drift; tendency; series of tending or moving causes; as, the stream of opinions or manners.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To issue or flow in a stream; to flow freely or in a current, as a fluid or whatever is likened to fluids; as, tears streamed from her eyes.
Beneath those banks where rivers stream.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To pour out, or emit, a stream or streams.
A thousand suns will stream on thee.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To issue in a stream of light; to radiate.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To extend; to stretch out with a wavy motion; to float in the wind; as, a flag streams in the wind.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To send forth in a current or stream; to cause to flow; to pour; as, his eyes streamed tears.
It may so please that she at length will streamSome dew of grace into my withered heart.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To mark with colors or embroidery in long tracts.
The herald's mantle is streamed with gold.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To unfurl.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A natural body of running water flowing on or under the earth
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Dominant course (suggestive of running water) of successive events or ideas;
Two streams of development run through American history
Stream of consciousness
The flow of thought
The current of history
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

A steady flow (usually from natural causes);
The raft floated downstream on the current
He felt a stream of air
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

The act of flowing or streaming; continuous progression
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Something that resembles a flowing stream in moving continuously;
A stream of people emptied from the terminal
The museum had planned carefully for the flow of visitors
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

To extend, wave or float outward, as if in the wind;
Their manes streamed like stiff black pennants in the wind
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Exude profusely;
She was streaming with sweat
His nose streamed blood
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Move in large numbers;
People were pouring out of the theater
Beggars pullulated in the plaza
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Rain heavily;
Put on your rain coat-- it's pouring outside!
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

Stream

Flow freely and abundantly;
Tears streamed down her face
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 26, 2023

FAQs

Can a stream originate from a spring?

Yes, streams can originate from springs, snowmelt, or other natural sources.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can canals be natural?

Typically, canals are human-made, but some natural channels are modified and called canals.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is a stream always flowing?

While streams are typically flowing, some may experience intermittent flow based on precipitation and source availability.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Do all canals have locks and gates?

Not all, but many canals have locks and gates to control water flow and levels.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can a canal host aquatic life?

Some canals can host aquatic life, but the diversity may be limited compared to natural water bodies.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Can a canal be used for irrigation?

Absolutely, many canals are constructed specifically for irrigation purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are there different types of streams?

Yes, streams can be of various types, like perennial, ephemeral, or intermittent, based on their flow characteristics.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can the flow of a stream be slow?

Yes, the flow of streams can range from slow to rapid, depending on the slope and other factors.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are all canals straight and uniform?

No, while canals are often uniform, they can have varying shapes based on the terrain and purpose.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Is the course of a stream always constant?

No, a stream’s course can change due to natural processes like erosion or human intervention.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Can a stream be a habitat for wildlife?

Yes, streams often host diverse ecosystems and serve as habitats for various species.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can streams be found in various geographical landscapes?

Yes, streams can be found in a variety of landscapes, from mountains to plains.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can a canal be a tourist attraction?

Yes, some canals, like the Venice Canals, are famous tourist attractions.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Are canals always deep?

The depth of canals can vary based on their purpose and design.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons