"Crick" vs "Creek"

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"Crick" or "Creek"

Originally spelled “kryk”, which came from the Old Norse word “Kriki” which originally meant a corner or nook. The Anglo-French version of the word was “crique” and became part of the English lexicon. By the 1600s the word had taken on the meaning of “a small stream, a brook”. Over time, the pronunciation of the word changed from “crick” to “creek”, and because of that, the spelling of the word was changed to “creke”. Eventually, that spelling was changed to the version we know today of “creek”.

Language patterns change over time, but rural areas change more slowly than urban areas. The original pronunciation of “crick” has held firm in rural areas, while urban areas accepted the pronunciation of “creek” as a sign of sophistication. In the early 21st century, it is not uncommon to find the preferred version of the word in rural areas to be “crick” while most urban areas prefer the pronunciation of “creek”.

While those who prefer “creek” often make sport of their rural neighbor’s pronunciation of the word, the rural version of “crick” is more true to the origin of the word than the urban pronunciation of “creek”. The spelling was changed from an “i” to an “e” to match an early mispronunciation which had gained a certain amount of social acceptance.

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