A derrick is either a crane for lifting material or a framework over an oil well that allows the drilling machinery to be raised and lowered.

A 17th century English hangman named Derrick led to a gallows being called a derrick. From there, a crane with a moveable arm came to be called a derrick because it resembled a gallows. Later, another kind of derrick was created: the kind of framework you can probably picture if you think of an oil well. That derrick allows the drilling tubes to move up and down, and all these types of derricks have a similar, up-and-down purpose.

Definitions of derrick
  1. noun
    a simple crane having lifting tackle slung from a boom
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    type of:
    lifts and moves heavy objects; lifting tackle is suspended from a pivoted boom that rotates around a vertical axis
  2. noun
    a framework erected over an oil well to allow drill tubes to be raised and lowered
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    type of:
    a structure supporting or containing something
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