a hump back bridge over a dyke

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Senior Member
Nikki shrugged and gently reduced her speed as they approached a hump back bridge over a dyke.
‘I’m pretty sure he, or maybe they, used the dyke.’ Nikki pointed to the narrow waterway that ran close to the barn. ‘With all the summer rain we’ve had of late, you could easily get a small boat along there.’
Source: Crime on the Fens by Joy Ellis

If you say that a humpback bridge runs over a dyke, you mean over a pair of dykes, one on each side of the waterway, right? Or does dyke refer refer to the embankments at the both sides of the waterway? How else would a narrow waterway run close to the barn?

Thank you.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    dike. With a lot of rain a ditch will fill up with water - maybe enough to use a small boat.

    dike1 (dīk), n., v., diked, dik•ing.
    1. Civil Engineering an embankment for controlling or holding back the waters of the sea or a river:They built a temporary dike of sandbags to keep the river from flooding the town.
    2. Civil Engineering a ditch.
    Bridge railings over a fen dike (C) Richard Humphrey


    The 'y' spelling is noted in Oxford online:

    (also dike)
    • 1A long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding from the sea.
    • ‘A lot of the route is along the dykes that prevent the river from flooding the neighbouring fields.’
    • [[2A ditch or watercourse.

      • ‘There's also something called the Klamath Straits Drain, along with scores of channelized creeks, uncountable dikes, and an aqueduct called the Lost River Diversion Channel.’]]

    The 'y' is in the original text quoted in the OP. Jacdac did not make a typo.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Thank you. In this context, I take a dyke is a ditch, a waterway, a canal. I was bemused with its embankment definition.
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