One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long-bodied predatory freshwater fish with a pointed snout and large teeth, of both Eurasia and North America.
Family Esocidae and genus Esox: five species, including the widespread northern pike (E. lucius)
- ‘Being the main apex predator found in freshwaters, pike are not as common as other fish.’
- ‘After debating the merits of fishing for grayling or the pike, we chose to fly fish for the pike.’
- ‘There are herring and cod in the outer archipelago, but within casting range of land the fish are mostly fresh-water - perch, bream, pike, and zander.’
- ‘Paul contacted the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water, which are now investigating the cause of the deaths of a number of fish including pike, eels and roach.’
- ‘The main courses are dominated by marine and freshwater fish, including the ubiquitous pike; or else game - rabbit, pheasant and duck.’
- 1.1 Used in names of predatory fish with large teeth other than the true pike, e.g. garpike.
- ‘It can save you lots of time reeling in grass pike, and a pocket full of money on lost baits, if you invest in a couple weed less baits for your tackle box.’
- ‘The long-nosed garpike is common everywhere in shallow water.’
- ‘The department may designate certain waters in which a rubber or spring propelled spear may be used for the taking of carp, dogfish, garpike, and suckers.’
Middle English: from pike (because of the fish's pointed jaw).
1historical An infantry weapon with a pointed steel or iron head on a long wooden shaft.
blade, knife, sword, spear, lance, javelin, shaft, harpoonView synonyms
- ‘The invention and proliferation of the ring bayonet in the 1690s led to the disappearance of the pike as a standard infantry weapon.’
- ‘Dixira stopped abruptly, his nose inches from the wooden shafts of the pikes.’
- ‘Bronze and iron weapons were initially obtained from the continent, but soon the Japanese were making their own weapons such as swords, pikes, and spears.’
- ‘They use pikes and heavy cutlasses in a practical, serious manner.’
- ‘Vast quantities of clothing, gunpowder, pikes, halberds, swords, and muskets poured out of the workshops of the metropolis.’
2Northern English (in names of hills in the Lake District) a hill with a peaked top.‘Scafell Pike’
high ground, rising ground, prominence, eminence, elevation, rise, hillock, mound, mount, knoll, hummock, tor, tump, fell, mesaView synonyms
- ‘Although the lowest of the three country tops of Scotland, Wales and England, Scafell Pike is perhaps the hardest to get to.’
- ‘At 978 metres (3209 feet), Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. It is located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.’
- ‘Many people walk up Scafell Pike each day - but beware of following the crowd!’
Kill or thrust (someone) through with a pike.‘many prisoners were taken out and piked’
Early 16th century: from French pique, back-formation from piquer ‘pierce’, from pic ‘pick, pike’; compare with Old English pīc ‘point, prick’ (of unknown origin). pike (sense 2 of the noun) is apparently of Scandinavian origin; compare with West Norwegian dialect pīk ‘pointed mountain’.
- short for turnpike
- ‘The National Road becomes known as the National Pike, as some of the states erect toll houses to collect fees from those using the Pike.’
- ‘Towns and cities along the pike began to spring up to provide comforts for weary travelers heading west. Modern travelers of the Historic National Pike will find communities proud of their vibrant heritage.’
- ‘Maryland's Baltimore to Cumberland section of the Historic National Road was designated the Historic National Pike.’
come down the pike
informal Appear on the scene; come to notice.‘it's one of the better sports movies to come down the pike in some time’
- ‘And, as the Times points out, there may be other unexpected costs coming down the pike.’
- ‘Keep in mind, this is rumor-central at this point: nothing official has happened, and nothing may be coming down the pike.’
- ‘For TV, I think both music channels tell you what's new and what's coming down the pike sooner than anything you'd see on Bloomberg or CNBC.’
- ‘This certainly seems to be coming down the pike.’
- ‘So, you know, I don't want to be superstitious, but it's - it makes me - it gives me chills to think of what may be coming down the pike later on this season.’
- ‘They put aside billions to make sure that they're going to be protected against lawsuits that are coming down the pike.’
- ‘There's always a new one coming down the pike, and their appeal and durability is based purely on the personal details - on the strength of the story.’
- ‘And so I contacted the Department of Workforce Development and they said, Well, we know it might be coming down the pike, we might award this contract.’
- ‘So, without belaboring the point, let's just stipulate that there were probably some problems coming down the pike for Brown's nomination even if he hadn't had this nanny problem come up.’
- ‘The fact that the president has decided to schedule a ‘major speech’ terrorism, apropos of more or less nothing, would seem to suggest some bad coming down the pike.’
often as modifier A jackknife position in diving or gymnastics.
- ‘A good freestyle turn should be started in a pike position.’
- ‘Chusovitina's full-twisting front somersault vault in open pike position earned her first place on that event.’
- ‘As a beginner the whole idea is to hang on the pole for as long as possible and gradually practise kicking up your feet into a pike position.’
- ‘Semi-final leader Blanik performed a very strong Tsukahara double pike, but appeared to land low on his piked handspring double front.’
- ‘Now bring the ball closer to your hands by bending at the waist until you achieve an inverted pike position.’
1920s: of unknown origin.
verb[no object]Australian, NZ
1pike outWithdraw from or go back on (a plan or agreement).
- ‘John and James pike out leaving me and Rick to head up to the bar to get a couple of drinks before heading to bed.’
- ‘However I am fighting an almost overwhelming desire to pike out and spend the weekend under the duvet eating chocolate.’
- ‘Jack says: ‘When you're on a promise to someone you can't pike out.’’
- ‘Then I thought ‘Oh well, there go all my readers overly-protected by various ‘inappropriate content’ filters ’, such as are found in all too many libraries, so I piked out.’
2pike onLet (someone) down.
pull out of, back out of, beg off, bow out of, scratch fromView synonyms
- ‘I might pike on things on the weekend so I can work on my birthday dress.’
Late Middle English (as pike oneself ‘take up a pilgrim's staff’): compare with Danish pigge af ‘hasten off’. The current senses date from the mid 20th century.
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