What is a pike in America?

pike in American English 1. any of a family (Esocidae, order Salmoniformes) of slender, voracious, freshwater bony fishes with a narrow, pointed head and conspicuous, sharp teeth , esp., a species (Esox lucius) of the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere.


The word "pike" carries different meanings and contexts in American English, Old English, and UK slang. It can refer to a species of freshwater fish or a weapon used by medieval infantry. This article will explore these diverse meanings and shed light on the origins of the term "pike."

Pike as a Fish

Pike fish, known for their large size, can grow up to four feet in length. Their distinguishing feature is their flat, broad snout, resembling a duckbill. The color of pike fish varies depending on their habitat, with those from clear lakes or streams typically having a light green hue [^2^].

Pike as a Weapon

The term "pike," in the context of weaponry, refers to a long spear used by medieval infantry. A pike consists of a heavy wooden shaft, measuring 10 to 20 feet in length, with a small leaf-shaped steel point at the end. It played a significant role in the declining influence of feudal knights during the 14th century [^5^].

The Etymology of Pike

The word "pike" derives its various meanings from different origins. In American English, "pike" is used to refer to the family of slender, freshwater fish with pointed heads and sharp teeth. This usage stems from the Middle English term for "pointed object" [^0^]. However, in Old English, "pike" carries the meaning of a "pointed object" or a "sharp tool," highlighting its connection to weaponry [^1^]. Interestingly, the name of the fish is attributed to its long, narrow body and sharp jaws, which resemble the pole-weapon known as the pike [^4^].

Pike in UK Slang

In UK slang, "pike" takes on a different connotation altogether. It is used as slang for a kilogram of drugs, particularly cocaine [^3^]. This usage exhibits the dynamic nature of language and how words can evolve in different contexts over time.


The term "pike" encompasses a range of meanings, reflecting its diverse origins and usage. From denoting a species of large freshwater fish to a weapon employed by medieval infantry, the word "pike" holds a rich linguistic history. Additionally, in UK slang, it has been repurposed as slang for a kilogram of drugs. This versatility and adaptation demonstrate the ever-evolving nature of language and its capacity to express various concepts and ideas.


What do Americans call pike?
NORTHERN PIKE. (Esox lucius) By Maureen Mecozzi. Common Names. Northern, Great Lakes northern pike, pickerel, jackfish, common northern pike, snake, snake pickerel.
Read more on dnr.wisconsin.gov
What does pike mean slang?
verb (used without object),piked, pikĀ·ing. Older Slang. to go, leave, or move along quickly.
Read more on www.dictionary.com
What kind of a fish is a pike?
pike, any of several voracious freshwater fishes, family Esocidae, caught both commercially and for sport. They are recognized by the elongate body, small scales, long head, shovellike snout, and large mouth armed with strong teeth. The dorsal and anal fins are far back on the tail.
Read more on www.britannica.com
Are there pike in America?
Northern pike are native to Eurasia and North America, including most of Canada, Alaska and the interior northern United States from northwestern Vermont and northern West Virginia in the east, across the Great Lakes Region to northeastern Montana and northeastern Kansas in the west.
Read more on wildlife.ca.gov