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

The teen raced across the street and dove behind a car, landing on a sidewalk and crawling away on his hands and feet as the gunman leaned out the window of the white car and kept firing, according to video recorded by a neighbor. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "3 cops lauded for actions after woman was hit in the head by a stray bullet that came through her front window. Video captured gunman randomly shooting in West Englewood.," 11 Sep. 2019 The burglars have become known for crawling on the floor of establishments in an effort to avoid setting off motion detector alarms. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Night crawler crew’ apparently breaks into Pelham, N.H., gas station," 20 Aug. 2019 Police noted that the baby had labored breathing with ants crawling on it and a soiled diaper. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "16-day-old baby found on car floor covered in ants, Laurel County police say," 19 Aug. 2019 Jackson crawled in on one side of the wreck to unbuckle the boy from his car seat, and Trejo pulled the child out from the other side. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Actor Danny Trejo pulls young boy from Southern California rollover collision," 8 Aug. 2019 Mesa police arrested a man who is suspected of crawling on the floor at a Mesa Walmart to look up women's dresses. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "Man arrested, suspected of looking up women's dresses at a Mesa Walmart," 10 July 2019 That includes babies crawling on land and dogs jumping into water, plus contests for pie eating and cardboard-boat floating. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "3 small towns for a summer getaway in Wisconsin," 11 July 2018 Explore a large, interconnected underworld crawling with cunning creatures, deadly traps, and a mysterious shadowy presence. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Long-awaited survival game Below is out next week," 6 Dec. 2018 The first is a flashback when Shirley, the second oldest of the Crain children, is mourning the loss of her pet kitten and becomes horrified when a bug crawls out of its mouth. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House Is Basically a Scary This Is Us," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Smaller but well-suited to the outdoors are two of Dalya Luttwak’s painted metal vines, which crawl on the parapet above the plaza. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Habitats’ at Target Gallery showcases the nature of creativity," 6 Sep. 2019 The couple paid tuition for Anna, who had been slow to crawl. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Gentrification opened a rift between an L.A. church and a children’s center. Can they both survive?," 30 Aug. 2019 Most often, riders who fall crawl off the ground, spray antibiotic cream on road rashes and hop back on their bikes. Michael Powell, New York Times, "At Tour de France, Rules of the Road Are Often Unspoken," 25 July 2019 Nesting for the sea turtles typically occurs from May through August where the up to 300-pound loggerheads crawl from the Atlantic Ocean and lay around 100 small eggs per nest. Vanna Quiroz, CBS News, "Rare sea turtles smash nesting records in parts of Southeast," 14 July 2019 Fish, octopuses, squid, eels, dolphins, and whales swim the open waters while crabs, octopuses, starfish, oysters, and snails crawl and scoot along the ocean bottom. Paul Chesley, National Geographic, "Our oceans are under attack by climate change, overfishing," 21 Mar. 2019 Vanessa said, don't call it anything, just have a chameleon crawl across the screen. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "In A New HBO Documentary, A Tale of Five Jane Fondas," 21 Sep. 2018 Supporters of the bill, meanwhile, responded by stepping off sidewalks and into the roadways to block the vehicles — bringing the city’s downtown traffic to a crawl. Los Angeles Times, "A fierce battle over defining employees in California nears decisive vote," 7 Sep. 2019 For a second consecutive season, the Bruins offense looked lost and confused and eventually slowed to a crawl. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Where’s the progress? Chip Kelly’s second season at UCLA begins with a whimper," 29 Aug. 2019

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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