verb (used with object), eked, ek·ing.
- to make (a living) or support (existence) laboriously: They managed to eke out a living by farming a small piece of land.
- to supplement; add to; stretch: to eke out an income with odd jobs.
Origin of eke1
Origin of eke2
Examples from the Web for eke
The polls say Republicans will likely eke out a small majority in the Senate this Election Day.
They made the playoffs just four times and managed to eke out only one playoff series win.
Thanks to an unexpectedly strong showing in the West and the farm belt, Truman managed to eke out re-election.
Polls suggests he should be able to eke out a win of three points or so.Michael Tomasky Makes His Election 2012 Predictions|Michael Tomasky|November 6, 2012|DAILY BEAST
President Obama is likely to eke out a popular vote victory and a win the electoral college.
He learnt to eke out his meagre supplies by living on the wild game of the country, the native flour, bananas and mangoes.Sketches of the East Africa Campaign|Robert Valentine Dolbey
Faults of temper she may have had, and eke narrow prejudices on sundry points.In the Valley|Harold Frederic
They showed me several seed-bearing bushes and weeds which in old time had helped to eke out for them an existence.Aw-Aw-Tam Indian Nights|J. William Lloyd
Their helms and eke their mail-coats / bound on horse did stand: And doughty knights made ready / to fare from out that land.The Nibelungenlied|Unknown
And he had justs and turnaments, Whereto were many prest, Wherein some knights did far excell And eke surmount the rest.A Book of Ballads, Volume 3|Various
Word Origin for eke
Word Origin for eke
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.
"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.).