1 of 2


: also


2 of 2


eked; eking

transitive verb

archaic : increase, lengthen
: to get with great difficulty
usually used with out
eke out a living

Examples of eke in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Threads could be a way for Meta to eke additional engagement time out of its massive existing user base. Clare Duffy, CNN, 19 July 2023 What else is in it for Meta? For Meta, Threads could be a way of eking additional engagement time out of its massive existing user base. Clare Duffy, CNN, 6 July 2023 This approach goes back to Biden’s own blue collar identity that surfaces in his speeches: the Scranton, Pennsylvania kid whose family at times just eked by financially. Josh Boak, Fortune, 27 June 2023 So far, the former president appears to have eked at least one defection from the state legislature with Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters. Ryan King, Washington Examiner, 17 May 2023 Where once Milanello, the club’s training facility, was famous for its ability to eke a few more years out of aging stars, the focus is now on youth. Rory Smith, New York Times, 8 May 2023 Scherzinger, in waist-enhancing blue gown, eked every ounce of drama from the song, prompting Lang Lang to rush over and take a bow with her at the end of the catwalk. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 7 May 2023 After eking into the NCAA Tournament and winning a First Four game over Nevada, Bobby Hurley’s job is likely safe — for now — in Tempe. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Mar. 2023 This handle allows anglers to execute precise quarter and half-turns to eke every bit of life out of their oversized lures. Pete Robbins, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Old English ēac; akin to Old High German ouh also, Latin aut or, Greek au again


Middle English echen, (northern and east Midlands) eken "to increase, extend, add, improve," going back to Old English īcan, gīcan, ȳcan, geȳcan, (Anglian) geēcan "to increase, add to, enhance," weak-verb derivative from Germanic *aukan- "to increase" (class VII strong verb), whence Old English ēacen, ēcen (past participle) "increased, endowed with excellent qualities, mighty," Old Frisian āka "to increase," Old Saxon ōkan "to make pregnant," Old High German zuoouhhan "to add," Old Icelandic auka "to increase, add to, surpass," Gothic aukan "to increase" (intransitive); Germanic *aukan- going back to a present stem from the Indo-European verbal base *h2eu̯g- "grow, increase," whence also, with other formations, Lithuanian áugu, áugti "to grow," Latin augēō, augēre, perfect auxī "to increase, make greater, heighten"

Note: Regarding the most likely related Indo-European base *h2u̯eks- see the note at wax entry 3.

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of eke was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near eke

Cite this Entry

“Eke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eke. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

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