crawl

verb
\ ˈkrȯl How to pronounce crawl (audio) \
crawled; crawling; crawls

Definition of crawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move on one's hands and knees The baby crawled toward her mother.
b : to move slowly in a prone position without or as if without the use of limbs The snake crawled into its hole. The soldiers crawled forward on their bellies.
2 : to move or progress slowly or laboriously traffic crawling along at 10 miles an hour
3 : to advance by guile or servility crawling into favor by toadying to his boss
4 : to spread by extending stems or tendrils a crawling vine
5a : to be alive or swarming with or as if with creeping things a kitchen crawling with ants
b : to have the sensation of insects creeping over one the story made her flesh crawl
6 : to fail to stay evenly spread used of paint, varnish, or glaze

transitive verb

1 : to move upon in or as if in a creeping manner all the creatures that crawl the earth
2 : to reprove harshly they got no good right to crawl me for what I wrote— Marjorie K. Rawlings

crawl

noun

Definition of crawl (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act or action of crawling
b : slow or laborious progress
c chiefly British : a going from one pub to another
2 : a fast swimming stroke executed in a prone position with alternating overarm strokes and a flutter kick
3 : lettering that moves vertically or horizontally across a television or motion-picture screen to give information (such as performer credits or news bulletins)

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Synonyms for crawl

Synonyms: Verb

belly, creep, grovel, slide, slither, snake, worm, wriggle

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Examples of crawl in a Sentence

Verb

Does the baby crawl yet? We got down on our knees and crawled through a small opening. The baby crawled across the floor toward her mother. The soldiers crawled forward on their bellies. The snake crawled into its hole. They're doing construction on the road, so traffic is crawling. I worked late into the night, and it was 2 a.m. before I finally crawled into bed. The bus crawled along the rough and narrow road. The days slowly crawled by. Work on the project has crawled to a standstill.

Noun

Near the construction site, traffic had slowed to a crawl. The bus was moving along at a crawl. Her strongest stroke is the crawl.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trying to follow Langley's commands, Shaver began to crawl on his hands and knees toward the officers, the video shows. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "These are the 3 Arizona officers charged with murder in on-duty shootings since 2002," 19 June 2019 The room had shelves filled with glass jars of kissing bugs crawling on filter paper folded accordion style. Marc Burckhardt, National Geographic, "A little-known parasite infects 300,000 people in the U.S.," 17 June 2019 Previous week: Roach crawls on dough mixing machine at Houston restaurant during inspections May 27 to June 2 Each week, Houston health inspectors distribute violations that carry a weight between 1 and 25, increasing in severity. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Flies touch raw chicken at Houston restaurant during inspection June 3 to June 9," 13 June 2019 McDonald noted that the tick must be attached, not just crawling on your skin, for illness to be transmitted. Susan Scutti, CNN, "2 cases of tick-borne Powassan virus confirmed in northern New Jersey," 11 June 2019 Her bubbly 1-year-old twins, Addie and Amelia, are finishing their bottles and crawling on a blanket behind her. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "This Nurse Helps New Moms When They're Most Vulnerable," 8 Jan. 2019 Country pursuits on such properties commonly include pheasant, grouse or partridge shoots, salmon fishing and stalking (crawling on rough, damp terrain under the guidance of a ghillie, or young helper, to shoot stags marked for culling). Cathy Newman, WSJ, "A Chic Scottish Sojourn Among the Manors," 7 Dec. 2018 Lunar Outpost envisions swarms of up to two dozen of these rovers crawling on the Moon's surface looking for ice, precious metals, and other resources. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA closes call for small payloads to study the surface of the Moon," 22 Nov. 2018 His wife, who also was bound and placed in the vehicle’s trunk but managed to crawl into the back seat after her husband apparently kicked down one of the seats, was found alive, wedged between the trunk and the rear seat, officials said. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "Man found dead in car trunk outside Crete home was beloved Back of the Yards grocery store owner," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Every time an emergent goal appears during a dungeon crawl (find a key, solve a puzzle), the indicator stops working. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Minecraft Dungeons hands-on: A shameless Diablo clone—and better for it," 12 June 2019 Ugh, oh my god — even the word makes my skin crawl. Tynan Sinks, Allure, "I Despised Scented Deodorant Until I Tried Native’s Customized Fragrances," 19 May 2019 The road to becoming an interplanetary species is a hazardous one, and it’s been taken as a cautious crawl rather than a reckless run. Amber Jorgenson, Discover Magazine, "Sex and the Cosmic City," 18 Apr. 2019 The Su-57 was supposed to enter production by 2020, but technical problems and a lack of funding has slowed development to a crawl. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What’s Going on With Russia’s New Stealth Fighter?," 18 May 2019 The result might be a plane that appears to suddenly jerk in midair, rise like a dragon, slow to a relative crawl, or perform some other impossible-looking aerial maneuver. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China's New Upgrade Makes Its Fighter Jets Wildly Maneuverable," 7 Nov. 2018 The industry’s ongoing message, driven home hard by Nvidia itself, is that older graphics cards couldn’t perform ray calculations without slowing gaming frame rates to a crawl. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "RTX on GTX: Nvidia is enabling ray tracing on some GeForce GTX graphics cards," 18 Mar. 2019 When the female lays its eggs, the beetle larvae crawl off and devour them. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Horror Beetles Hitchhike on Bees And Then Eat Their Young," 12 Sep. 2018 The suspect scripts were detected based on a daily crawl of websites conducted by RiskIQ, which gathers data on more than two billion pages a day. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "British Airways site had credit card skimming code injected," 11 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crawl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crawl

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for crawl

Verb

Middle English, from Old Norse krafla

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More Definitions for crawl

crawl

verb

English Language Learners Definition of crawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move on your hands and knees
: to move with the body close to or on the ground
: to move slowly

crawl

noun

English Language Learners Definition of crawl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very slow speed
: a way of swimming in which the swimmer lies facing down in the water and moves first one arm over the head and then the other while kicking the legs

crawl

verb
\ ˈkrȯl How to pronounce crawl (audio) \
crawled; crawling

Kids Definition of crawl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move slowly with the body close to the ground : move on hands and knees
2 : to go very slowly or carefully Traffic was crawling along.
3 : to be covered with or have the feeling of being covered with creeping things The food was crawling with flies.

crawl

noun

Kids Definition of crawl (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or motion of going very slowly Traffic is at a crawl.
2 : a swimming stroke performed by moving first one arm over the head and then the other while kicking the legs

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More from Merriam-Webster on crawl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crawl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crawl

Spanish Central: Translation of crawl

Nglish: Translation of crawl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crawl for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about crawl

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