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noun Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a lesbian.

Origin of dyke2

1940–45; earlier in form bulldike (with a variant bulldagger); of obscure origin; claimed to be a shortening of morphodyke (variant of morphodite, a reshaping of hermaphrodite), though morphodyke is more likely a blend of morphodite and a pre-existing dyke; other hypothesized connections, such as with diked out or dike “ditch,” are dubious on semantic grounds
Related formsdyk·ey, adjective, dyk·i·er, dyk·i·est.

Usage note

The terms dyke and bull dyke are used with disparaging intent and are perceived as insulting. However, they have been adopted as positive terms of self-reference by young or radical lesbians and in the academic community. In the mainstream homosexual community, gay and lesbian remain the terms of choice.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for dykey


  1. Greg (ory). born 1947, British television executive; director-general of the BBC (2000–04)



  1. an embankment constructed to prevent flooding, keep out the sea, etc
  2. a ditch or watercourse
  3. a bank made of earth excavated for and placed alongside a ditch
  4. Scot a wall, esp a dry-stone wall
  5. a barrier or obstruction
  6. a vertical or near-vertical wall-like body of igneous rock intruded into cracks in older rock
  7. Australian and NZ informal
    1. a lavatory
    2. (as modifier)a dyke roll
  1. civil engineering an embankment or wall built to confine a river to a particular course
  2. (tr) to protect, enclose, or drain (land) with a dyke

Word Origin

C13: modification of Old English dic ditch; compare Old Norse dīki ditch



  1. slang a lesbian

Word Origin

C20: of unknown 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 dykey



1931, American English, perhaps a shortening of morphadike, dialectal garbling of hermaphrodite; but bulldyker "engage in lesbian activities" is attested from 1921, and a source from 1896 lists dyke as slang for "the vulva."

[T]he word appears first in the long forms, bulldiker and bulldyking, both used in the 1920s by American blacks. No African antecedents have been found for the term, however, which leads to the possibility that this is basically just another backcountry, barnyard word, perhaps a combination of BULL and DICK. [Rawson]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper