Creak - creek

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Creak and creek are precise homophones. They sound exactly the same.

  • Creak may be either a noun or a verb. Both refer to a sound - the harsh, not necessarily very loud, noise that is characteristic when wood moves against wood, as in an old staircase, or a rowing-boat moves against a wooden landing stage.
    • The noun 'a creak' is the label for such a sound.
    • The verb 'to creak' is intransitive: it means 'to give off [or make] such a noise': "His new shoes creaked"; "The door creaks: I must oil the hinge."
  • Creek is only found, in current English, as a noun. It means an inlet of the sea affected by the tides, and large enough to provide sheltered moorings for small boats. A creek is tidal, and many creeks dry sufficiently at low tide to leave the boats aground. This later expanded to inlets from other bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes in North America, and mangrove swamps in Asia, and larger inlets in coasts where rivers have ceased to run, such as The Creek in Dubai.
      • Creek, in an unrelated sense, is also a noun or adjective labelling a tribe of Native Americans.