Main definitions of dyke in English

: dyke1dyke2

dyke1

(also dike)

noun

informal, offensive
  • A lesbian.

Origin

1940s (earlier as bulldyke): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

dyke

/dʌɪk/

Main definitions of dyke in English

: dyke1dyke2

dyke2

(also dike)

noun

  • 1A long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding from the sea.

    • ‘They lost a string of fortresses, and the province of Holland was only saved by a man-made flood when the dykes were deliberately opened.’
    • ‘They cleared it of stones and wood and built dykes and houses and herded cattle.’
    • ‘With their gently sloping sides, Sanxingdui's walls may instead have been dikes for flood control.’
    • ‘We have pumps to pump out the water that is continually leaking into our polders through the dikes.’
    • ‘Richmond has dykes, but they were built to protect against flooding from the Fraser, and as the ocean rises, such floods will become increasingly difficult to deal with.’
    • ‘A lot of the route is along the dykes that prevent the river from flooding the neighbouring fields.’
    • ‘Over a quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea level, relying on a network of dykes, canals and pumps to stay dry.’
    • ‘The area flanks Lake Pontchartrain and suffered from floods when a canal dike burst.’
    • ‘Ponds are separated by dikes that prevent flooding and provide access routes to the ponds for electricity and aerator motors.’
    • ‘Local authorities were ordered to step up patrols along dams and dikes.’
    • ‘Submissive magistrates were dismissed and William took the decision to cut the dykes and deliberately flood the area surrounding Leyden.’
    • ‘The authorities began working frantically up the river, using whatever materials and means available to construct dykes, dams and levees.’
    • ‘As they camped in the fields in sight of the city walls the Mongols surprised them by smashing the dams and dikes nearby and flooding the encampment.’
    • ‘Part of South Milford was flooded yesterday after swollen dykes overflowed into High Street, leaving the village playing field, post office and several houses under water.’
    • ‘More than 870,000 workers have been deployed to fight the floods and reinforce dykes along the Yangtze river.’
    • ‘Moreover, they tended to live near dykes designed to irrigate rice farms.’
    • ‘The Netherlands is a land protected from flooding by dykes and dams.’
    • ‘He is remembered as a benevolent ruler who increased agricultural production and built dams, dikes, and bridges for the Vietnamese people.’
    • ‘By the 1920S, the Army Corps of Engineers built sturdier dikes, and valley flooding virtually ceased.’
    • ‘It also refers to the Delta Works, the network of dykes and dams that protect the Netherlands province of Zeeland from sea flooding.’
    jetty, quay, wharf, dock, landing, landing stage, landing place, slipway, marina, waterfront, breakwater, mole, groyne, sea wall, embankment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often in place names A low wall or earthwork serving as a boundary or defence.
      ‘Offa's Dyke’
      • ‘The Iron Age dyke near the finish has a drystone wall over it.’
      • ‘Only dikes and trenches were allowed to separate the two types of farms.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was the remnant of a dry-stone dyke built by McLeod ancestors.’
      • ‘The dyke represents a Bronze Age tribal boundary, but was being damaged by mountain bikers.’
      • ‘My interest was in the road itself and its relationship to an Iron Age cross-ridge dyke which defended a presumed settlement on the spur.’
      • ‘The 80 ha. site is best viewed from the well-preserved boundary dykes, forming the eastern side of the oppidum beside Cutham Lane.’
      • ‘The ditch and palisaded dyke would have made it difficult for Welsh raiders to enter England, but almost impossible for them to return laden with any booty such as cattle.’
      • ‘The busy prehistory is known rather than seen in the shadow remnants of dikes and earthworks.’
      • ‘The charter references to ‘fortress-work’ imply fortified strongholds rather than dykes.’
      barrier, partition, room divider, enclosure, screen, panel, separator
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A causeway.
      • ‘The first ramp, which slopes from the dike down to the park, is divided by a glass wall such that it serves as an external connecting passage between the park and dike, an entrance to the building and an internal space.’
      • ‘The result of all this was to show that the cursus had always been a single, banked-up pathway between ditches - in other words not really a cursus at all, more a ceremonial causeway or dyke.’
      • ‘After that, she led us along a thin, icy path on a dike between the channel and a deep, muddy ditch with sharp sticks jutting up from the bottom.’
      bank, mound, ridge, earthwork, causeway, barrier, levee, dam
      View synonyms
  • 2A ditch or watercourse.

    • ‘They were right up against the grass verge or dyke, so there was nowhere for me to walk but on the left, with my back to the traffic on that side.’
    • ‘In the season there would be plenty of bullrushes in the dykes and ditches in the low-lying areas with a high rainfall.’
    • ‘There's also something called the Klamath Straits Drain, along with scores of channelized creeks, uncountable dikes, and an aqueduct called the Lost River Diversion Channel.’
    • ‘They were also carrying out routine checks of dykes, rivers and ditches in the area, and Mr Hankins said divers were on stand-by.’
    • ‘He said the Council did try to allocate staff to clearing the gullies and dykes on minor roads.’
    • ‘Our house was near the Broads, and I would go out in a canoe to explore the network of dykes and rivers almost every day.’
    • ‘He clears out the silt and mud that are clogging the rivers and dykes, and cuts and scythes the reeds and sedge that threaten to reclaim the broads, selling them for thatch.’
    • ‘The dykes, often spilling over the marsh all winter, regularly attracted flights of 50 or more of these smallest of ducks.’
    • ‘As we had many big ditches or dykes as we called them, the reeds were readily available.’
    • ‘Other proposals included diverting some of the water from the channel with a series of dikes or reducing its power through a number of small waterfalls.’
    • ‘Before the construction of dams and barrages, floodwaters would spill out of the river's banks and, channeled by sluices and dikes, cover most of the agricultural land.’
    • ‘The ditches, dikes and reed-edged fleets that crisscross the grazing marshes here are rich in invertebrates, including the scarce emerald damselfly.’
    • ‘The dykes are interpreted here as partially drained feeder dykes to higher-level sills within the complex.’
    • ‘The girl from Carnforth slipped and broke her ankle while playing around the dykes in Hest Bank on Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘Animals are separated by creeks and dykes wherever it's possible.’
    • ‘Therefore, if runoff can be diverted away from it with dikes and interception ditches, sediment transport can be reduced.’
    • ‘We flew in the dikes by the river, below ground level.’
    • ‘Fortunately, a surge of public support and volunteer energy prompted restoration of 72 miles of dikes and channels.’
    trench, trough, channel, drain, gutter, gully, moat, duct, watercourse, conduit
    View synonyms
  • 3Geology
    An intrusion of igneous rock cutting across existing strata.

    Compare with sill
    • ‘There are no mafic dykes or intrusions of similar age to the granitic rocks that could imply contemporaneous mafic magmatism.’
    • ‘Evidently, the wealth of minerals found at Brumado is related to the intrusion of igneous dikes and subsequent associated hydrothermal mineralization.’
    • ‘Indeed, small dykes of melt rock in the central area imply that shock pressures elsewhere exceeded 70 GPa.’
    • ‘Large tuff-filled clastic dykes invade volcaniclastic deposits associated with the Ferrar large igneous province.’
    • ‘A swarm of mafic igneous dikes have intruded the Estes pegmatite and make a showy display in the quarry face.’
  • 4NZ Australian informal, dated A toilet.

    lavatory, wc, water closet, convenience, public convenience, facilities, urinal, privy, latrine, outhouse, earth closet, jakes
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]often as adjective dyked
  • Provide (land) with a wall or embankment to prevent flooding.

    • ‘The village community, through voluntary labor, create diked pastures on rectangular plots of land, called chaukas, to store the rainwater.’
    • ‘By 1986, more than 95 percent of the wild rice harvested was grown not in natural lakes but diked paddies, most of them in northern California.’
    • ‘Essentially they've dyked almost every area; they closed off every area and the water doesn't flow and the salinity builds up.’
    • ‘They've done an excellent job to get this diked up.’
    • ‘They had learned to dike and farm the tidal marshlands along the Bay of Fundy.’
    • ‘‘There's not much in them anymore,’ Steves said of the ditches which, for the most part, have been reduced to ‘standing, stagnating ‘bodies of water due to dyking.’’
    • ‘Eastward lay the Sonoma floodplain, an expanse of diked and drained bay lands, with tidal creeks and sloughs shining in the distance.’
    • ‘We've been filling, diking, diverting, and erasing swamps for two centuries: How did we miss this one?’
    • ‘With the exception of one trap, all traps that captured large numbers of flies were located within or near the diked, agricultural lands in Grand Pré.’
    • ‘In 1968, a rock-filled dam with a flood control gate system was built in the New Brunswick, as a road connection and to protect diked farmland from flooding.’
    • ‘Richmond is one of only a handful of fully dyked cities in all of North America.’
    • ‘The diked and filled wetland proved incapable of growing grain.’
    • ‘A century of diking, shunting, damming, and draining has reduced much of this vast wetland to prairie and, in places, has left only Shark Slough, the main artery of the river, still flowing.’
    • ‘He inspected it, concluded it was useless, got some diagonal cutters and diked it out.’
    • ‘Proposals for border dyking were not accepted and low-interest loans for irrigation from the Rural Bank did not last.’
    • ‘First of all, it is stored in a sealed clay or lined lagoon, which also happens to be diked about four or five feet above ground level.’
    • ‘Construction, agriculture, water diversion, and diking have sucked away at the waterway since settlement boomed here in the 19th century.’
    • ‘The fertility of those dyked lands was unrivalled, generating great agricultural productivity.’
    • ‘The family was told not to spend money diking the property as the Socreds, when they came to power in 1975, had plans to purchase the property.’
    • ‘Westerner's perplexed by the artificiality of Hangzhou's dredged, diked and manipulated Xihu need only recall their own foundational myths.’

Phrases

  • put one's finger in the dyke

    • Attempt to stem the advance of something undesirable.

      • ‘Sometimes it's hard to put your finger in the dyke when you are sitting in the stand, but we certainly did things that we didn't do in practice and we haven't done in the rest of the tournament.’
      • ‘Don't let people criticise you for this - after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?’

Origin

Middle English (denoting a trench or ditch): from Old Norse dík, related to ditch. dyke (sense 1 of the noun) has been influenced by Middle Low German dīk ‘dam’ and Middle Dutch dijc ‘ditch, dam’.

Pronunciation

dyke

/dʌɪk/