\ 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)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That is my newest project—to very slowly crawl back into post-pandemic life and learn how to socialize again, and, hopefully, how to work again. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 10 June 2021 Take action by removing anything stored near your home’s exterior, which silverfish can crawl on to enter, as well as removing any damp debris such as wood or dead plants that could be acting as a haven for these insects. Samantha Lawyer, Country Living, 8 June 2021 Otherwise, the plant would also attract other insects that crawl along the forest floor. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 May 2021 As with those who crawl under sinks for a living, some jobs simply prove tougher than others. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 2021 Because they're attracted to warm, moist locations, ticks often crawl from piles of leaves or thick brush onto your body and then gravitate toward toasty spots like your armpits, groin, or hair, says MedlinePlus. Lauren Krouse,, 18 May 2021 Together, the sibs cache their food, hiding worms and crickets (which eventually wiggle or crawl away) and seeds and food chunks in the mulch of the Australasia exhibit in Wings of the World. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, 10 Apr. 2021 And as the hype falls away about technical bells and whistles and using new kinds of data to predict people’s interests, the audience still loves watching people fix houses, tour diners, crawl around sewers and bicker about their relationships. New York Times, 28 Feb. 2021 The other form is 3D and includes more free-form cells that crawl around during development, settling into specific spots to become organs. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 24 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The adult adventure course thrills with obstacles where guests climb, crawl and test their daringness across the various sections. Hannah Drown, cleveland, 9 June 2021 But the loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in 2007's East finals stuck in Wallace's crawl. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 6 June 2021 The video, obtained by ABC affiliate WPLG in Miami, shows the victims duck and crawl for cover after shots rang out early Sunday at the El Mula Banquet Hall in Hialeah, where a local rapper was celebrating his birthday. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 1 June 2021 But before the pandemic, clogged streets had reduced bus speeds to a crawl and New York lagged far behind other cities in building dedicated bus lanes. New York Times, 27 May 2021 When the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl around and leave behind a silk-like substance. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 25 May 2021 Along the way, participants will find challenges such as a tire obstacle, a balance beam, a ball toss, a crawl through and a log-walk., 14 May 2021 As transmission rates slow to a crawl and the recovery ramps up, many governments and private companies are trying to determine how to ensure the economic recovery benefits broad numbers of people from different backgrounds. Chase Difeliciantonio, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Apr. 2021 Then, the boys are stripped down to their diapers and crawl around the playroom while Chris reads a story. Nataly Keomoungkhoun, Dallas News, 8 Apr. 2021

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


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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Learn More About crawl

Time Traveler for crawl

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for crawl

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crawl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for crawl



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



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


\ 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


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