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  1. a toll road or highway; turnpike road.
  2. a turnpike or tollgate.
  3. the toll paid at a tollgate.
  1. come down the pike, Informal. to appear or come forth: the greatest idea that ever came down the pike.

Origin of pike3

1820–30, Americanism; short for turnpike
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for come down the pike


noun plural pike or pikes
  1. any of several large predatory freshwater teleost fishes of the genus Esox, esp E. lucius (northern pike), having a broad flat snout, strong teeth, and an elongated body covered with small scales: family Esocidae
  2. any of various similar fishes

Word Origin

C14: short for pikefish, from Old English pīc point, with reference to the shape of its jaw


  1. a medieval weapon consisting of an iron or steel spearhead joined to a long pole, the pikestaff
  2. a point or spike
  1. (tr) to stab or pierce using a pike

Word Origin

Old English pīc point, of obscure origin


  1. short for turnpike (def. 1)


  1. Northern English dialect a pointed or conical hill

Word Origin

Old English pīc, of obscure origin


piked (paɪkt)

  1. (of the body position of a diver) bent at the hips but with the legs straight

Word Origin

C20: of obscure origin
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

Word Origin and History for come down the pike



"highway," 1812 shortening of turnpike.



"weapon with a long shaft and a pointed metal head," 1510s, from Middle French pique "a spear; pikeman," from piquer "to pick, puncture, pierce," from Old French pic "sharp point or spike," a general continental term (cf. Spanish pica, Italian picca, Provençal piqua), perhaps ultimately from a Germanic [Barnhart] or Celtic source (see pike (n.4)). Alternative explanation traces the Old French word (via Vulgar Latin *piccare "to prick, pierce") to Latin picus "woodpecker." "Formerly the chief weapon of a large part of the infantry; in the 18th c. superseded by the bayonet" [OED]; hence old expressions such as pass through pikes "come through difficulties, run the gauntlet;" push of pikes "close-quarters combat." German Pike, Dutch piek, Danish pik, etc. are from French pique.



"voracious freshwater fish," early 14c., probably short for pike-fish, a special use of pike (n.2) in reference to the fish's long, pointed jaw, and in part from French brochet "pike" (fish), from broche "a roasting spit."



"pick used in digging," Middle English pik, pyk, collateral (long-vowel) form of pic (source of pick (n.1)), from Old English piic "pointed object, pickaxe," perhaps from a Celtic source (cf. Gaelic pic "pickaxe," Irish pice "pike, pitchfork"). Extended early 13c. to "pointed tip" of anything. Pike, pick, and pitch formerly were used indifferently in English. Pike position in diving, gymnastics, etc., attested from 1928, perhaps on the notion of "tapering to a point."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with come down the pike

come down the pike

Appear, become prominent, as in He was the best writer to come down the pike in a long time. The noun pike here is short for “turnpike” or “road.” [Slang; mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.