- a long, narrow, cross-cutting mass of igneous rock intruded into a fissure in older rock.
- a similar mass of rock composed of other kinds of material, as sandstone.
verb (used with object), diked, dik·ing.
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Origin of dike1
OTHER WORDS FROM dikedik·er, nounun·diked, adjective
Words nearby dike
Definition for dike (2 of 3)
noun Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
OTHER WORDS FROM dikedik·ey, adjective, dik·i·er, dik·i·est.
Definition for dike (3 of 3)
noun Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
Origin of dyke2
usage note for dyke
OTHER WORDS FROM dykedyk·ey, adjective, dyk·i·er, dyk·i·est.
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
Example sentences from the Web for dike
A whole population of 11 million with every iron in the fire doubling as a finger in a dike.The Life and Hard Times Of The Family A Cuban Defector Left Behind|Brin-Jonathan Butler|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
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.
Or it forces its way into a fissure to form a dike which may never reach the surface.The Wonder Book of Volcanoes and Earthquakes|Edwin J. Houston
Some boatmen proposed to carry us over this lake to the dike.Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China|Evariste Regis Huc
And to this day the people of Haarlem tell the story of how a little boy saved the dike.How to Tell Stories to Children|Sara Cone Bryant
Dike's knapsack was still on his back, and his canteen at his hip, his helmet slung over his shoulder.Half Portions|Edna Ferber
Not until he reached his snug nest in the burrow at the foot of the dike did he quite regain his equanimity.Neighbors Unknown|Charles G. D. Roberts
British Dictionary definitions for dike (1 of 4)
British Dictionary definitions for dike (2 of 4)
British Dictionary definitions for dike (3 of 4)
- a lavatory
- (as modifier)a dyke roll