\ ˈdīk How to pronounce dike (audio) \

Definition of dike

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 civil engineering : an artificial watercourse : ditch
2 civil engineering
a : a bank (see bank entry 1 sense 1) usually of earth constructed to control or confine water : levee
b : a barrier preventing passage especially of something undesirable
3a civil engineering : a raised causeway
b geology : a tabular body of igneous rock that has been injected while molten into a fissure


diked; diking

Definition of dike (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 civil engineering : to surround or protect with a dike (see dike entry 1)
2 civil engineering : to drain by a dike

less common spelling of

usually offensive

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Other Words from dike


diker noun, civil engineering

Synonyms for dike

Synonyms: Noun (1)

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Examples of dike in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In addition to the hundreds of thousands of acres of marshland that were drained or diked off, the researchers discovered former wetlands that now are forested that were unknown to anybody. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries," 17 Aug. 2019 Ed Musial blames a series of finger dikes the state installed in the 1980s for channeling the river past their homes. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "They’re in their 90s; the river looms ... and they don’t want government money.," 30 June 2019 The southern banks along Svensen Slough, a side channel of the Columbia River, have transformed over time from historic spruce swamp into fields diked off by European settlers for farming. Edward Stratton, The Christian Science Monitor, "Farmers reshape land along Columbia River to bring salmon back," 2 Apr. 2018 Aerial photos show portions of the land – diked and drained for agriculture by the 1930s and cut in half by US Highway 30 by the 1970s – slowly returning to wetlands as levees broke down and breached. Edward Stratton, The Christian Science Monitor, "Farmers reshape land along Columbia River to bring salmon back," 2 Apr. 2018 The tank area is believed to be diked and lined to contain spilled fuel. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Human error blamed for 22,000-gallon spill at Savoonga tank farm," 15 Mar. 2018 That was before humans drained and diked estuaries to build cities, grow crops, and make salt. National Geographic, "How the Bay Area Is Restoring Nature's Delicate Balance," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dike.' 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 dike

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dike

Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English, probably from Old Norse dīk ditch and Middle Low German dīk dam; akin to Old English dīc ditch — more at ditch

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Time Traveler for dike

Time Traveler

The first known use of dike was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Dike.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dike. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dike


\ ˈdīk How to pronounce dike (audio) \

Kids Definition of dike

1 : a long trench dug in the earth to carry water
2 : a mound of earth built to control water

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