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creek

[kreek, krik] /krik, krɪk/
noun
1.
U.S., Canada, and Australia. a stream smaller than a river.
2.
a stream or channel in a coastal marsh.
3.
Chiefly Atlantic States and British. a recess or inlet in the shore of the sea.
4.
an estuary.
5.
British Dialect. a narrow, winding passage or hidden recess.
Idioms
6.
up the creek, Slang. in a predicament; in a difficult or seemingly hopeless situation.
Origin
1200-1250
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for up creek

creek

/kriːk/
noun
1.
(mainly Brit) a narrow inlet or bay, esp of the sea
2.
(US & Canadian, Austral & NZ) a small stream or tributary
3.
(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

Creek

/kriːk/
noun
1.
(pl) Creek, Creeks. a member of a confederacy of Native American peoples formerly living in Georgia and Alabama, now chiefly in Oklahoma
2.
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 up creek

creek

n.

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."

Creek

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 up creek

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 up creek

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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