bay·​ou | \ ˈbī-(ˌ)ü How to pronounce bayou (audio) , -(ˌ)ō \

Definition of bayou

1 : a creek, secondary watercourse, or minor river that is tributary to another body of water
2 : any of various usually marshy or sluggish bodies of water

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bayou



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Examples of bayou in a Sentence

a small creek that is the bayou of a larger stream
Recent Examples on the Web Hurricane Laura sent a pine tree through the roof of the single-story house that Charlotte Biagas grew up in, near a bayou on the north side of Lake Charles. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, 7 June 2021 In Lafayette, familiar anxieties rose with the bayou’s water level. New York Times, 19 May 2021 The perverse power duo, Russell and Parvati are like Mr. and Mrs. Smith — if Mr. and Mrs. Smith were an evil bayou hobbit and a yoga-teaching succubus. Dalton Ross,, 6 May 2021 Ruby is driven from the Dumas mansion and returns to her childhood home in the bayou. Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2021 After the death of her beloved grandmother, young Ruby Landry leaves the bayou to search for her wealthy but estranged father in New Orleans. Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2021 Indeed, even in his 1834 map, Zimpel shows La Mare à Boré’s bayou as already severed from its downstream tributaries, on account of the New Basin Canal. Richard Campanella,, 30 Oct. 2020 Wallis’s captivating central turn as a defiant six-year-old living on a Louisiana bayou that imbues Benh Zeitlin’s tender fable with magic and earned the young performer a best-actress nomination at the 2013 Oscars. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 21 Mar. 2021 Directed by Beyoncé and Jenn Nkiru, the video opens with Blue Ivy and Beyoncé playing a game of patty-cake in the bayou before joining a number of distinguished Black women in a sumptuous ball. Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bayou.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bayou

1763, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bayou

borrowed from Louisiana French, earlier bayouque, perhaps borrowed from early Choctaw *bayok, whence Choctaw bo·k "creek, river"

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Dictionary Entries Near bayou



bayou bass

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Statistics for bayou

Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bayou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for bayou



English Language Learners Definition of bayou

: an area of water in the southern U.S. in which the water moves very slowly and is filled with many plants


bay·​ou | \ ˈbī-ü How to pronounce bayou (audio) , \

Kids Definition of bayou

: a body of water (as a creek) that flows slowly through marshy land

More from Merriam-Webster on bayou

Nglish: Translation of bayou for Spanish Speakers


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