[ eek ]
/ ik /

verb (used with object), eked, ek·ing.

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.

Nearby words

  1. ek se,
  2. eka-,
  3. ekaterinburg,
  4. ekaterinodar,
  5. ekaterinoslav,
  6. eke out,
  7. ekg,
  8. ekistic,
  9. ekistician,
  10. ekistics

Origin of eke

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for eke out

eke out

verb (tr, adverb)

to make (a supply) last, esp by frugal usethey eked out what little food was left
to support (existence) with difficulty and effort
to add to (something insufficient), esp with effortto eke out an income with evening work


/ (iːk) /


(tr) archaic to increase, enlarge, or lengthen

Word Origin for eke

Old English eacan; related to Old Norse auka to increase, Latin augēre to increase


/ (iːk) /

sentence connector

archaic also; moreover

Word Origin for eke

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

Word Origin and History for eke out
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with eke out

eke out


Supplement, make last, as in The survivors eked out their food and water until they were rescued. [Late 1500s]


Get with great difficulty or effort, as in The soil was terrible but they managed to eke out a living by rotating crops. [Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.