Up creek


[kreek, krik]
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.

1200–50; Middle English creke, variant of crike < Old Norse kriki bend, crook

subcreek, noun

1. brook, creek, river, stream ; 2. creak, creek, croak.
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World English Dictionary
creek (kriːk)
1.  chiefly (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
[C13: from Old Norse kriki nook; related to Middle Dutch krēke creek, inlet]

Creek (kriːk)
n , Creek, Creeks
1.  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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1449, creke "narrow inlet in a coastline," from kryk (c.1230), probably from O.N. kriki "nook," perhaps infl. by Anglo-Fr. crique, itself from a Scand. source via Norman. Perhaps ultimately related to crook. Extended to "inlet or short arm of a river" by 1577, which probably led to use for "small stream,
brook" in Amer.Eng. (1622). 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 esp. "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 stream in Ga. where English first encountered them. Native name is Muskogee, a word of uncertain origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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