By Judy Vorfeld
The origin of this interjection probably lies in cartoon world, when the heroine jumped up on a chair and shrieked, “Eek! A mouse!” These days it’s still an informal, usually
humorous expression of anxiety. Think of it as a “lite,” high-pitched shriek.
Example: Terri looked up from her keyboard and spotted a spider perched on top of her moniter. She jumped up and said, “Eek! A spider!” And then there’s Eek! It’s Eczema! Which is also alliteration.
“Eke,” on the other hand, is a much older word. It’s generally used with the word “out, and usually tied in with doing these things with great difficulty. It is also usually used with the word “out.” “Eke” does not mean “endure.”
Examples: The husband and wife worked hard, but barely eked out a living…Arriving in Bermuda, Jonathan found he only had four pills for a nine-day stay. He decided to eke them out.
How about “eek” as an acronym? This is a sweet site:
… And then there’s EEK! Environmental Education for Kids nicely presented by the State of Wisconsin.