From Middle English creke, from Old Norse kriki. Early British colonists of 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 course for a small waterway.
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: krēk IPA(key): /kɹiːk/
- (US) IPA(key): /kɹik/, /kɹɪk/
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- 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.
- 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 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..."