• synonyms


  1. 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.
  2. Also called oil derrick. the towerlike framework over an oil well or the like.
  3. 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.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. Machinery. luff.
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Origin of derrick

originally a hangman, the gallows, after the surname of a well-known Tyburn hangman, circa 1600
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for derricking

Historical Examples

  • But with these lively quarter-pounders of the Taylor Brook, derricking is a safer procedure.

    Fishing with a Worm

    Bliss Perry

British Dictionary definitions for derricking


  1. a simple crane having lifting tackle slung from a boom
  2. the framework erected over an oil well to enable drill tubes to be raised and lowered
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  1. to raise or lower the jib of (a crane)
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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

Word Origin and History for derricking



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper