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[bahy-oo, bahy-oh] /ˈbaɪ u, ˈbaɪ oʊ/
noun, plural bayous. Chiefly Lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf States.
a marshy arm, inlet, or outlet of a lake, river, etc., usually sluggish or stagnant.
any of various other often boggy and slow-moving or still bodies of water.
Origin of bayou
1710-20, Americanism; < Louisiana French, said to be < Choctaw bayuk river forming part of a delta Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for bayou


(in the southern US) a sluggish marshy tributary of a lake or river
Word Origin
C18: from Louisiana French, from Choctaw bayuk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bayou

1766, via Louisiana French, from Choctaw bayuk "small stream."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bayou in Science
A sluggish, marshy stream connected with a river, lake, or gulf. Bayous are common in the southern United States.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bayou in Culture
bayou [(beye-ooh, beye-oh)]

Term used mainly in Louisiana and Mississippi to describe a swampy, slowly moving or stationary body of water that was once part of a lake, river, or gulf.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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