Word of the Day: Eek and Eke

eek  /  ēk




  1. used to express alarm, fright, dismay or surprise

I always cringe when people tell me they don’t eat breakfast, as though that’s a good thing. Eek!

Alison Sweeney, 1976 –




eke  /  ēk





  1. (archaic) also

To friends and eke to foes true kindness show;

No kindly heart unkindly deeds will do;

Harshness will alienate a bosom friend.

And kindness reconcile a deadly foe. 

Omar Khayyam, 1048 – 1131




  1. to obtain with great effort or difficulty

To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.

Gretchen Rubin, 1965 –


  1. to supplement with great effort

Game was scanty, and they had to eke out their scanty fare with wild roots and vegetables, such as the Indian potato, the wild onion, and the prairie tomato, and they met with quantities of “red root,” from which the hunters make a very palatable beverage.

From “The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A., in the Rocky Mountains and the far West” by Washington Irving, Washington, 1783 – 1859


  1. to allot or apportion in small amounts

I don’t want to eke out my life like a resource in short supply.

Jeanette Winterson, 1959 –