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derrick (DER-ik) noun

1. A machine for hoisting and moving heavy objects, consisting of a movable boom equipped with cables and pulleys and connected to the base of an upright stationary beam.

2. A tall framework over a drilled hole, especially an oil well, used to support boring equipment or hoist and lower lengths of pipe.

[Obsolete derick, hangman, gallows after Derick, 16th-century English hangman.]

"Here, the treeless Arctic landscape is dotted with oil derricks, all of them surrounded by filthy black pools, many with wasteful gas flares burning furiously at ground level, covering the sites with the sooty residue of their squandered energy." Conoco Working Hard to Harvest Russian Oil, Weekend Edition - Saturday (NPR), 26 Nov 1994.

This week's theme: eponyms.


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