der·​rick | \ ˈder-ik How to pronounce derrick (audio) , ˈde-rik \

Definition of derrick

1 : a hoisting apparatus employing a tackle rigged at the end of a beam
2 : a framework or tower over a deep drill hole (as of an oil well) for supporting boring tackle or for hoisting and lowering

Illustration of derrick

Illustration of derrick

derrick 2

Did you know?

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, London was the home of a notorious executioner named Derick. Among those he beheaded was the Earl of Essex, Robert Devereux, who supposedly had once saved the life of the ungrateful executioner. While members of the nobility were accorded the courtesy of beheading, it was the lot of commoners to be hanged, and those sent to face the rope at the hands of the executioner Derick nicknamed the gallows after him. Today, derrick is commonly used for a framework, but one that supports equipment used in drilling for oil.

Examples of derrick in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On Harrison’s way out of town, in Santa Paula, eager locals clambered aboard his train to present him with a 5-foot-tall model of an oil derrick, made entirely of flowers. Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2022 Traditionalists scoffed at his use of industrial materials, and at designs that were variously likened to an oil derrick, a V-8 engine, an espresso machine and a Meccano construction set. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 Zora Chung, the company’s cofounder and CFO, points to an oil derrick lodged in the startup’s parking lot. Aarian Marshall, Wired, 2 Nov. 2021 Huntington Beach High School’s football team is still called the Oilers, and its icon is an oil derrick. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2021 Through this seawater, the IODP team lowered kilometers of pipe from a derrick more than 60 meters high. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 4 Mar. 2021 The historic unearthing brought thousands of oil workers to the Lone Star State as derricks popped up throughout East Texas – and changed the city of Houston into a petroleum metropolis. Matt Levin, Houston Chronicle, 24 Apr. 2020 The population had managed to hang on even as much of its habitat was razed to make room for pineapple plantations, a missile silo, oil derricks and luxury condos. Carrie Arnold, Scientific American, 29 Mar. 2020 No image captures the intersection of fire and modern industry better than a burning oil derrick’s column of flame. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, 17 Feb. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of derrick

circa 1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for derrick

obsolete derrick hangman, gallows, from Derick, name of 17th century English hangman

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The first known use of derrick was circa 1752

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Derrick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for derrick


der·​rick | \ ˈder-ik How to pronounce derrick (audio) \

Kids Definition of derrick

1 : a machine for moving or lifting heavy weights by means of a long arm fitted with ropes and pulleys
2 : a framework or tower over an oil well used to support machinery

More from Merriam-Webster on derrick

Nglish: Translation of derrick for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about derrick


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