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[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.
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Examples from the Web for eking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was then a young man of twenty-five, eking out a living by tuition.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • With the cane-bottomed one eking out a wooden one he lengthened the couch.

    The Royal Life Guard Alexander Dumas (pere)
  • But this way of eking out the facts only seemed to him to falsify them.

    Pragmatism D.L. Murray
  • The two had been eking out the remnants of Lois's school-money as best they might.

    Jane Field Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • They had to have some way of eking out a reasonable existence.

    The Financier Theodore Dreiser
  • Here we breakfasted luxuriously, eking out our store with sour milk and crumbly new white cheese from the sennhutt.

  • During all this time I was eking out my means of living by doing odd jobs, for I was Jack-of-all trades.

  • But there are a hundred ways of eking out subsistence in cheap countries, without trenching on morality.

    Arthur O'Leary Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for eking


(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
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Word Origin and History for eking



"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
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