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[der-ik] /ˈdɛr ɪk/
Machinery. a jib crane having a boom hinged near the base of the mast so as to rotate about the mast, for moving a load toward or away from the mast by raising or lowering the boom.
Also called oil derrick. the towerlike framework over an oil well or the like.
a boom for lifting cargo, pivoted at its inner end to a ship's mast or kingpost, and raised and supported at its outer end by topping lifts.
verb (used with or without object)
Machinery. luff.
Origin of derrick
originally a hangman, the gallows, after the surname of a well-known Tyburn hangman, circa 1600 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for derrick
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Most of the barges had derrick masts, and all these masts were moving.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Where the derrick had stood was the mouth of the twenty-inch casing.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
  • The cable that ran from it was entangled with the wreckage of the derrick, but it had not been cut.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
  • And there, where the derrick had stood, was a tall plume of white.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
  • Wisbech said he wished to see derrick Nasmyth, and the man nodded.

    The Greater Power Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for derrick


a simple crane having lifting tackle slung from a boom
the framework erected over an oil well to enable drill tubes to be raised and lowered
to raise or lower the jib of (a crane)
Word Origin
C17 (in the sense: gallows): from Derrick, name of a celebrated hangman at Tyburn
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 derrick

c.1600, originally "hangman," then "a gallows," then "hoist, crane" (1727), from surname of a hangman at Tyburn gallows, London, c.1606-1608, often referred to in contemporary theater. The name represents a late borrowing from the Low Countries (cf. Dutch Diederik) of Old High German Theodric.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for derrick



A shoplifter (1908+ Underworld)


To remove a player from a game: Shotton derricked him in favor of Cookie Lavagetto (1943+ Baseball)

[fr the notion of lifting on a derrick; the contrivance commemorates a Tyburn hangman of that name, who practiced about 1600]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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