bay·ou | \ˈbī-(ˌ)ü, -(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


affluent, branch, feeder, tributary


distributary, effluent

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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

An 18-wheeler crashed off a North Loop feeder, landing partially off a bridge and spilling its load of produce into the bayou below, according to Metro Video. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "18-wheeler carrying produce overturns in NE Houston," 13 July 2018 It got lost in the dark and wandered into the bayou. Marwa Eltagouri, Washington Post, "The deadliest bridge collapses in U.S. history," 16 Mar. 2018 Parade debris that landed in a ditch and eventually flowed into the bayou. Carol Wolfram,, "Every piece of trash has a story to tell: Slidell Bayou Cleanup 2018," 12 Mar. 2018 Along the bayou, workers navigate marsh buggy excavators building containment dikes. Gena Somra, CNN, "Louisiana's shrinking marshes signal the loss of a way of life," 6 June 2018 Fingernail-sized hail spattered the tents for a short time as low spots in the land along the bayou filled with a few inches of water. Michael Democker,, "Saturday at Bayou Boogaloo: photo gallery," 19 May 2018 Researchers are using a model to find ways to halt alarming land loss in the lower Louisiana bayou. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Replicating a River," 18 May 2018 Two brothers from LaPlace were killed early Sunday morning (Feb. 11) after Louisiana State Police say their vehicle crashed into a bayou in St. James Parish, L'Observateur reports. Littice Bacon-blood,, "2 LaPlace brothers killed in bayou car wreck: report," 14 Feb. 2018 Police received a call about the body in the bayou around 7:10 a.m. A dive team is on its way to the scene, at 5830 Old Spanish Trail in the Gulfgate area, police said. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "HPD: Reports of body found in Brays Bayou near Gulfgate," 11 July 2018

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

bay plum

bay point

Statistics for bayou

Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for bayou

The first known use of bayou was in 1763

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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, \

Kids Definition of bayou

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

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