Try Our Apps


What does the eggplant emoji really mean?


[eek] /ik/
verb (used with object), eked, eking.
to increase; enlarge; lengthen.
Verb phrases
eke out,
  1. to make (a living) or support (existence) laboriously:
    They managed to eke out a living by farming a small piece of land.
  2. to supplement; add to; stretch:
    to eke out an income with odd jobs.
Origin of eke1
before 1000; Middle English eken, Old English ēac(i)an (intransitive), derivative of ēaca (noun) increase; Middle English echen, Old English ēcan, variant of īecan (transitive) < West Germanic *aukjan; both akin to Old Norse auka, Gothic aukan, Latin augēre, Greek auxánein to increase, amplify Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for eke out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Can you, from the brief minutes I have left, eke out my reparation?

    Browning's England Helen Archibald Clarke
  • How he contrived to eke out subsistence was difficult to conceive.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
  • I had been desperately saving the ammunition, to eke out this hour of mine with her.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • They keep the lock, and have a few acres of pastureland to eke out their living.

    Sophy of Kravonia Anthony Hope
  • He ate it as slowly as he could to eke out a few minutes in the heavy day.

British Dictionary definitions for eke out

eke out

verb (transitive, adverb)
to make (a supply) last, esp by frugal use: they eked out what little food was left
to support (existence) with difficulty and effort
to add to (something insufficient), esp with effort: to eke out an income with evening work


(transitive) (archaic) to increase, enlarge, or lengthen
Word Origin
Old English eacan; related to Old Norse auka to increase, Latin augēre to increase


sentence connector
(archaic) also; moreover
Word Origin
Old English eac; related to Old Norse, Gothic auk also, Old High German ouh, Latin autem but, aut or
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for eke out



"also" (obsolete), from Old English eac, cognate with Old Saxon, Old Dutch ok, Old Norse and Gothic auk, Old Frisian ak, Old High German ouh, German auch "also;" probably related to eke (v.).



c.1200, eken "to increase, lengthen," north England and E. Midlands variant of echen from Old English ecan, eacan, eacian "to increase," probably from eaca "an increase," from Proto-Germanic *aukan (cf. Old Norse auka, Old Frisian aka, Old High German ouhhon, Gothic aukan), from PIE *aug- "to increase" (see augment).

Now mainly in phrase to eke out (1590s). It means "to make something go further or last longer;" you can eke out your income by taking a second job, but you can't eke out your existence. Related: Eked; eking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with eke out

eke out

Supplement, make last, as in The survivors eked out their food and water until they were rescued. [ Late 1500s ]
Get with great difficulty or effort, as in The soil was terrible but they managed to eke out a living by rotating crops. [ Early 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for eke out

Word Value for eke

Scrabble Words With Friends