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Wednesday wordphile: eke

eke (eek)

1.  interj. The expression one uses when standing on a kitchen chair looking down at a mouse. (Or is that “eeeeeek!“?)

2.  v. to supplement, increase, add to, or augment; now commonly used with “out.” “He eked out his living selling honey.”

3. n. A beekeeper term for a spacer rim or a very shallow super. The term originated during the days when bees were kept in skeps. Smaller skeps were sometimes placed on top of the main skep for honey storage, much as a Langstroth hive uses supers. These were known as caps or ekes because they helped the beekeeper “eke out” a little extra honey. Extra honey storage areas that were placed under the brood boxes were known as “nadirs.” The noun “nadir” means the lowest point.

Today, beekeepers use “eke” as a general term for any shallow super regardless of its use. “She put pollen patties in an eke and covered the hive.”

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