1) A regional term for a stream of no great size. It occurred commonly as the name of hillside becks, especially those which defined boundaries.
1502 inter un syke vocat Dyksyke ex boreal, Hepworth
1574 one sicke or brook which parts Derbyshire and Hallamshire - later referred to as the said sicke or ditch. 1635 certain bounderes sett amongest the Peatepittes ... one syke or water which runneth by the horwithens, Northowram. It was also the word for the water channels used as boundaries in the open arable fields, and this may explain the frequent plural which is a feature of the surname. Many early examples are in undated documents: n.d. ‘and 1˝ roods of land in three selions abutting on le Sykes’, Hornington
1291 ‘half an acre by Stokeldsyk ... one acre between le Sykes’, Hackness
1352 ‘and by le syk an acre of land abutting on le Wellecroft’, Parlington
c.1490 the whyche syke was wonte in my tyme and in my fadyr days as he sayd me to be drawyn with a plough for a mere on that syde bytwene Sand Hoton and Brakynbargh
1612 ‘land ... in the West Field ... abutting on a certain stream called le Sewer vel le Kirkesicke’, Methley. Early by-names include: 1275 RIchard del Syk, Langfield
1309 RIchard del Sikes, Langfield. See Sykes.