From Middle English creke, kreke, creake, of unclear origin. It existed alongside a second variant in Middle English cryke, krike, cricke, from Old Norse kriki.. The first form possibly continues Old English *creca (attested in the diminutive crecca (“creek, bay, wharf”) also found in Anglo-Latin as creca, crecca), from Proto-West Germanic *krekō, from Proto-Germanic *krekô, *krekuz (“corner, hook, angle, bend, bight”), related to Old Dutch creka, crika (“inlet, cove, creek”), Old Norse kriki, krikr (“angle, corner, nook, bight”), Old Norse kraki (“pole with a hook, anchor”), and possibly Old Norse krókr (“hook, bend, bight”). Modern cognates include West Frisian kreek (“creek”), Dutch kreek (“creek, cove, inlet, bight”), and French crique (“cove”) (borrowed from Germanic).
Early British colonists of Australia and the Americas used the term in the usual British way, to name inlets; as settlements followed the inlets upstream and inland, the names were retained and creek was reinterpreted as a general term for a small waterway..
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: krēk IPA(key): /kɹiːk/
- (US) IPA(key): /kɹik/, (Appalachia) /kɹɪk/
Audio (US) (file) Audio (US) (file) Audio (AU) (file) Audio (AUS) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːk, -ɪk
- Homophones: creak, crick
creek (plural creeks)
- (Britain) A small inlet or bay, often saltwater, narrower and extending farther into the land than a cove; a recess in the shore of the sea, or of a river; the inner part of a port that is used as a dock for small boats.
- (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US) A stream of water (often freshwater) smaller than a river and larger than a brook; in Australia, also used of river-sized waterbodies.
- Any turn or winding.
- beck, brook, burn, stream
- (regional US terms:) run (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia), brook (New England), branch (Southern US), bayou (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Southeastern Texas)
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- ^ “creek”, in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.
- ^ Barry Lopez, Debra Gwartney, Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape →ISBN, page 92: "Creek is a word that has been transformed by the North American continent. The British usage of the term was its first meaning here, and this definition still applies along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Maine: a saltwater inlet narrower than a cove; the estuary of a stream. But as settlement probed inland beyond the coastal plain, following watercourses upstream well past the influence of salt and tides, the word creek held on for any flow..."