\ 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



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)

Synonyms for crawl

Synonyms: Verb

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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Born in the lake where the treasure is hidden, the crab will crawl back toward its home — a charming notion that demands a patience none of these double-crossing pirates possesses. Peter Debruge, Variety, 14 Apr. 2022 And though supposedly immobile, some of them can crawl. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2022 Megaflashes crawl through the clouds, but can produce or induce ground connections at various points. Matthew Cappucci, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Feb. 2022 Leatherbacks, named for their tough, rubbery skin, typically crawl onto beaches at night and dig holes to deposit their eggs in the sand. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 Nov. 2021 Hough even tried to crawl onto the judges' table to cheer, but eventually gave up due to her formal attire. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 Some scaled or tried to crawl under perimeter fencing while others used bolt cutters in an attempt to get in, the log states. Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2021 These men exist in the underbelly of life, struggling to crawl up through the course of the play. Christopher Westbrook, Town & Country, 22 Mar. 2022 Despite being horribly injured, Apollo the cat managed to crawl to a nearby house. Tristan Balagtas,, 3 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The mama bear then found the home, which had an unsecured crawl-space opening, to sleep for the winter. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2022 Towing capacity is up to 8,000 pounds while crawl control and full time four-wheel drive are also standard. Marc Grasso, Hartford Courant, 8 Apr. 2022 The evening tapas crawl had followed a shorter one earlier that day, during the hot siesta hours. Jason Wilson, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2022 And the low range is 3.06:1, netting a 67.8:1 crawl ratio that matches the standard Bronco with the automatic and a 4.7:1 final drive. Carlos Lago, Car and Driver, 24 Jan. 2022 The Nashville trip is rounded out by a biker bar crawl and hot-chicken-eating contest. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 The casual crawl is scheduled for Friday, April 15, through Sunday, April 24, at these breweries: Blue Monkey Brewing Co., 5540 Wallings Road, North Royalton. Marc Bona, cleveland, 31 Mar. 2022 There are areas that are perfect for a crawl, like the aforementioned Mitote Food Park and along Soscol Avenue, just north of downtown Napa. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Mar. 2022 Ultimately, Chris still completes the barbwire army crawl first, finishing the course in 2:09, a full 10 seconds ahead of Nick. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of crawl


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


1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for crawl


Middle English, from Old Norse krafla

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Time Traveler for crawl

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The first known use of crawl was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Crawl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for crawl


\ 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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on crawl

Nglish: Translation of crawl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crawl for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crawl


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