from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A body of water, such as a creek or small river, that is a tributary of a larger body of water.
  • noun A sluggish stream that meanders through lowlands, marshes, or plantation grounds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the southern United States, the outlet of a lake, or one of the several outlets of a river through its delta; a sluggish watercourse.
  • noun An abandoned portion of a river-channel forming a lake or swamp following the general course of the main stream: a special case of “ox-bow lake.” The bayous of the lower Mississippi river are typical.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Southern U. S. An inlet from the Gulf of Mexico, from a lake, or from a large river, sometimes sluggish, sometimes without perceptible movement except from tide and wind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A slow-moving, often stagnant creek or river.
  • noun A swamp, a marshy (stagnant) body of water.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a swampy arm or slow-moving outlet of a lake (term used mainly in Mississippi and Louisiana)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Louisiana French bayouque, bayou, possibly from Choctaw bayuk.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Cajun French bayou, from Choctaw bayuk ("creek").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bayou.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Sometimes I wish we had more search options. For example if I wanted to find more words that had Choctaw origins.

    December 12, 2018