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[dahyk] /daɪk/
noun, verb, dyked, dyking.
dike1 .


[dahyk] /daɪk/
noun, Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a lesbian.
Also, dike.
1940-45; earlier in form bulldike (with a variant bulldagger); of obscure origin; claimed to be a shortening of morphodyke (variant of morphodite, a reshaping of hermaphrodite), though morphodyke is more likely a blend of morphodite and a pre-existing dyke; other hypothesized connections, such as with diked out or dike “ditch,” are dubious on semantic grounds
Related forms
dykey, adjective, dykier, dykiest.
Usage note
The terms dyke and bull dyke are used with disparaging intent and are perceived as insulting. However, they have been adopted as positive terms of self-reference by young or radical lesbians and in the academic community. In the mainstream homosexual community, gay and lesbian remain the terms of choice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dykes
  • The shattered and baked rocks, traversed by innumerable dykes of greenstone, showed what commotions had formerly taken place.
  • They allowed developers to build housing projects in flood plains and failed to shore up retaining walls and dykes.
  • Badly built dykes have been blamed for adding to the problem.
  • The radicals on the fringe plan to make their own news, with plenty of topless dykes and giant puppets.
  • It hasn't yet started building dykes, but is trying to channel the flow.
  • The country has always been prone to severe flooding-there is evidence of dykes going back several thousand years.
  • In the rich world, some of the more obvious measures will include building bigger dykes and flood defences.
British Dictionary definitions for dykes


an embankment constructed to prevent flooding, keep out the sea, etc
a ditch or watercourse
a bank made of earth excavated for and placed alongside a ditch
(Scot) a wall, esp a dry-stone wall
a barrier or obstruction
a vertical or near-vertical wall-like body of igneous rock intruded into cracks in older rock
(Austral & NZ, informal)
  1. a lavatory
  2. (as modifier): a dyke roll
(civil engineering) an embankment or wall built to confine a river to a particular course
(transitive) to protect, enclose, or drain (land) with a dyke
Word Origin
C13: modification of Old English dic ditch; compare Old Norse dīki ditch


(slang) a lesbian
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin


Greg(ory). born 1947, British television executive; director-general of the BBC (2000–04)
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 dykes



1931, American English, perhaps a shortening of morphadike, dialectal garbling of hermaphrodite; but bulldyker "engage in lesbian activities" is attested from 1921, and a source from 1896 lists dyke as slang for "the vulva."

[T]he word appears first in the long forms, bulldiker and bulldyking, both used in the 1920s by American blacks. No African antecedents have been found for the term, however, which leads to the possibility that this is basically just another backcountry, barnyard word, perhaps a combination of BULL and DICK. [Rawson]

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



: That woman lives with her dyke daughter and her dyke daughter-in-law


A lesbian, esp one who takes an aggressive role; bulldyke

[1930s+; origin uncertain and much debated; perhaps fr a shortening of morphodyke, dialectal and substandard pronunciation of ''hermaphrodite,'' perhaps influenced by dick, ''penis''; a source of 1896 lists dyke, ''the vulva'']

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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