"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[kreek, krik] /krik, krɪk/
U.S., Canada, and Australia. a stream smaller than a river.
a stream or channel in a coastal marsh.
Chiefly Atlantic States and British. a recess or inlet in the shore of the sea.
an estuary.
British Dialect. a narrow, winding passage or hidden recess.
up the creek, Slang. in a predicament; in a difficult or seemingly hopeless situation.
Origin of creek
1200-50; Middle English creke, variant of crike < Old Norse kriki bend, crook
Related forms
subcreek, noun
Can be confused
brook, creek, river, stream.
creak, creek, croak.


[kreek] /krik/
noun, plural Creeks (especially collectively) Creek.
a member of a confederacy of North American Indians that in historic times occupied the greater part of Alabama and Georgia.
Also called Muskogee. a Muskogean language that is the language of the Creek Indians. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for creek
  • Our boatman veered off into a small creek, navigating low, coffee-colored waters choked with water hyacinth.
  • Eventually, the area between them would be a reflecting pond, filled with creek water.
  • The new name, which takes effect immediately, refers to the building's proximity to a creek that runs through the campus.
  • By court order two dams along the creek were removed earlier this year.
  • The latest addition to its list of goodies is a hydrotherapy tub stimulating the feeling of lying in a gentle creek.
  • They scouted out a small creek flowing down a steep hill, and dammed it.
  • And it has landed us up the creek without a paddle.
  • Swamps and creek bottoms, wet meadows, and moist forests.
  • The paths are permeable except in flood-prone sections, where they're mortared to stay put when the creek rises.
  • He and his schoolmates built a small dam on the nearby creek and added a waterwheel.
British Dictionary definitions for creek


(mainly Brit) a narrow inlet or bay, esp of the sea
(US & Canadian, Austral & NZ) a small stream or tributary
(slang) up the creek, in trouble; in a difficult position
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse kriki nook; related to Middle Dutch krēke creek, inlet


(pl) Creek, Creeks. a member of a confederacy of Native American peoples formerly living in Georgia and Alabama, now chiefly in Oklahoma
any of the languages of these peoples, belonging to the Muskhogean family
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for creek

mid-15c., creke "narrow inlet in a coastline," altered from kryk (early 13c.; in place names from 12c.), probably from Old Norse kriki "corner, nook," perhaps influenced by Anglo-French crique, itself from a Scandinavian source via Norman. Perhaps ultimately related to crook and with an original notion of "full of bends and turns" (cf. dialectal Swedish krik "corner, bend; creek, cove").

Extended to "inlet or short arm of a river" by 1570s, which probably led to use for "small stream, brook" in American English (1620s). Also used there and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand for "branch of a main river," possibly from explorers moving up main rivers and seeing and noting mouths of tributaries without knowing they often were extensive rivers of their own. Slang phrase up the creek "in trouble," often especially "pregnant," first recorded 1941, perhaps originally armed forces slang for "lost while on patrol."


Indian tribe or confederation, 1725, named for creek, the geographical feature, and abbreviated from Ochese Creek Indians, from the place in Georgia where English first encountered them. Native name is Muskogee, a word of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for creek


Related Terms

up shit creek

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with creek


see: up a creek
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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