View synonyms for dike


or dyke

[ dahyk ]


  1. an embankment for controlling or holding back the waters of the sea or a river:

    They built a temporary dike of sandbags to keep the river from flooding the town.

  2. a ditch.
  3. a bank of earth formed of material being excavated.
  4. a causeway.
  5. British Dialect. a low wall or fence, especially of earth or stone, for dividing or enclosing land.
  6. an obstacle; barrier.
  7. Geology.
    1. a long, narrow, cross-cutting mass of igneous rock intruded into a fissure in older rock.
    2. a similar mass of rock composed of other kinds of material, as sandstone.
  8. Australian Slang. a urinal.

verb (used with object)

, diked, dik·ing.
  1. to furnish or drain with a dike.
  2. to enclose, restrain, or protect by a dike:

    to dike a tract of land.



[ dahyk ]


, Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.


/ daɪk /


  1. a variant spelling of dyke 1


/ dīk /

  1. A body of igneous rock that cuts across the structure of adjoining rock, usually as a result of the intrusion of magma. Dikes are often of a different composition from the rock they cut across. They are usually on the order of centimeters to meters across and up to tens of kilometers long.
  2. See illustration at batholith
  3. An embankment of earth and rock built to prevent floods or to hold irrigation water in for agricultural purposes.

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Other Words From

  • diker noun
  • un·diked adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of dike1

before 900; Middle English dik ( e ), Old English dīc < Old Norse dīki; akin to ditch

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Example Sentences

A study linked some of the levee and dike failures to earlier drought conditions, such as cracks forming because of exposure to heat and dryness.

By adopting a number of new tactics to staying informed, we can build a dike to keep out the flood of misinformation.

That standard works fine when you’re building a dike in areas where a flood won’t cause enormous damage, like an area of farmland.

From Time

In December 2008, four months after Andrea’s second relative died of leukemia, more than a billion gallons of coal ash slurry broke through a dike at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant.

Without system-level support, individual decision-making is like the proverbial Dutch boy with his finger in the dike.

A whole population of 11 million with every iron in the fire doubling as a finger in a dike.

The GOP, meanwhile, paints itself as sticking a finger in the dike of massive Obama spending.

It's a sort of finger in the dike approach with no clear vision, but maybe no one has a clear vision.

When riding or walking along upon such a dike on one side, down a long slope, they have a glimpse of water between the trees.

The dike was very regular in its form, and it was ornamented with two rows of trees along the top of it.

The dike was very broad, and the descent from it to the low land on each side was very gradual.

They had a delightful drive back, going as they came, on the top of the great sea dike.

The passengers that came in the ferry boat divided into two parties, as they came down the dike.


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About This Word

What else does dike mean?

Dike is an extremely offensive slur for a lesbian. It has been reappropriated by some in the LGBTQ community as a label of pride and solidarity.

What are some other forms of dike?


Where does dike come from?

The origins of the term dike to mean “lesbian” are unclear. Its predecessor appears to be bull-dyke, recorded in the 1890s for a “masculine lesbian.” The bull, here, may indicate a manliness, while dyke may ultimately be a corruption of hermaphrodite.

Dike and dyke, as in a “ditch,” were slang for “vulva” in the late 1800s. English professor Susan Krantz has argued dike is a corruption of dick. She also connects bull-dyke to bull (“lies”), making bull-dyke a kind of fake man.

Dyke itself is seen by 1930, commonly spelled dike, and it later became a verb for “to have lesbian sex” or “be a lesbian.” In the 1960s, the modifier dikey appeared.

Dike is a homophobic slur, but, as is true of many slurs in marginalized groups, the lesbian community reclaimed it in the 1970s, notably in the 1971 poem “The Psychoanalysis of Edward the Dyke” by feminist Judy Grahn. Some lesbians took on the label dike as a show of pride and solidarity.

In 1993, the first Dyke March was held throughout the U.S. and Canada. The march was organized as part of a larger national movement for LGBTQ rights. Dyke marches traditionally occur the night or day before larger Pride parades to ensure visibility for queer women.

In December 2005, the lesbian motorcycle club Dykes on Bikes won a case with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark its name after being initially denied on the grounds that it was offensive, which shows how effectively a part of the lesbian community reappropriated the term.

How is dike used in real life?

Dike, like vulgar words, depends on who is using it and how. For some members of the LGBTQ community, calling yourself (or someone else) a dike is a matter of pride and identity. That said, some lesbians still find dike very offensive, given the history of the term.

Just because dike has been reclaimed by some in the LGBTQ community, that doesn’t mean people outside of it don’t still use dike as a slur for lesbians or masculine-seeming women. Openly gay Scottish politician Mhairi Black, for instance, she has described many homophobic messages calling her dyke and other anti-lesbian slurs.

More examples of dike:

“On Saturday, thousands of queer women and dyke-identified trans and nonbinary folks marched down Fifth Avenue in New York to demonstrate to the world exactly what a dykeocracy looks like.”

—Mary Emily O’Hara, Them, June 2018