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
But their run in the tournament ended when Florida Atlanta eked them out on their way to the Sweet 16. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 21 Mar. 2024 Yet overall, the film manages to capture the unmoored, uncertain feeling of being a broke outcast trying to eke by a few more days, eager to make it to happiness. Elisabeth Garber-Paul, Rolling Stone, 5 Mar. 2024 There’s nothing more frustrating than when your phone is taking its sweet time eking past 20 percent charge or when your headphone or laptop battery dies in-flight, so a high-speed device is ideal for impatient travelers everywhere. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 18 Dec. 2023 Although the hearts, goals, and desires are different for everyone in a culturally-shifting Ho Chi Minh City, four individuals paint a vivid picture of the past, present, and future of a city eking into a new era. Ethan Shanfeld, Variety, 12 Dec. 2023 Youngkin notched a 5-point victory there in 2021, and Democrats eked a 1-point win in last year’s congressional midterms. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 Even if those are all in great shape, though, installing window treatments such as shades or shutters will eke even more efficiency out of your home’s envelope, which is everything separating the inside of your home from the outside. Bridget Reed Morawski, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 These teams always play close games, and Cleveland will eke this one out. Brian Wacker, Baltimore Sun, 6 Sep. 2023 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

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 21 Apr. 2024.

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