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


affluent, branch, confluent, feeder, influent, 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

Wiygul described a fun time her parents visited, which involved boating near Crab Island, beach time at Destin, swimming and riding jet skis in the bayou. Ashley Boucher,, "Tennessee Man Dies After Becoming Infected with Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Florida," 12 July 2019 As fishermen deep in the Louisiana bayou, Kindra Arnesen and her family have faced their share of life-altering challenges in recent years. Rocky Kistner, WIRED, "Gulf Fisheries Are Under Siege—Now Comes Tropical Storm Barry," 12 July 2019 His speech combined his Dr. Seussian gift of conjuring lyrical, yet logical new words with the gravelly accent of a bayou mobster bullfrog. Hanna Krueger,, "“We don’t do pity parties. We do parties”: New Orleans sends Dr. John off in style," 22 June 2019 According to officials with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, hundreds of bags of trash and waste are pulled from the bayou each week - and this week was no exception. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Officials urge action after hundreds of pounds of trash pulled from Houston's Buffalo Bayou weekly," 12 June 2019 After a big dinner of beef Wellington and burgundy mushrooms, the guests—some 25—went outside to a dock overlooking the bayou and sat around a bonfire. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "This Florida Home Fights Fires," 27 Feb. 2019 Cajun Encounters Tour Company Cajun Encounters takes you 45 minutes from French Quarter beignets and Bourbon Street nonsense, but the bayou feels a world away. Paul Oswell, Condé Nast Traveler, "15 Best Things To Do In New Orleans," 4 Mar. 2018 Despite being warned that the gator was potentially dangerous, a man jumped into the bayou at night. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Wildlife is wild, so admire from afar," 13 June 2018 The young mother had been stabbed 11 times with an ice pick and left along the slope of a Houston bayou. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Houston serial killer denied clemency 2 days before scheduled execution," 25 June 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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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bayou

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bayou

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bayou

Spanish Central: Translation of bayou

Nglish: Translation of bayou for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bayou

What made you want to look up bayou? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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