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

Edlund and his mother and friend crawled under the bleachers and got out. Michael Hamad, courant.com, "The living survivors of the Hartford circus fire still carry the scars from the tragic day. Hear their stories in this interactive oral history.," 27 June 2019 On the screens behind her were crawling insects, a baby doll engulfed in flames, gloomy silhouettes of barren trees. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Ariana Grande Was Updating Pop. Then Billie Eilish Came Along.," 21 June 2019 Minecraft Dungeons blends the core game’s blocky artwork with what appears to be Diablo-style dungeon crawling, complete with 4-player co-op both locally and online. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "41 must-see PC games at E3 2019: Watch every trailer," 15 June 2019 At the time, San Francisco was crawling out of the Great Recession and suffering from dramatic budget cuts. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "SF supervisors slam the Twitter tax break: “This was a terrible piece of public policy”," 6 June 2019 Parker crawled away and began to lead his company toward Point du Hoc. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "From the archives: A D-Day veteran returns to Normandy," 5 June 2019 The martian rovers, for instance, have crawled 45 miles in 26 years, never deviating from NASA’s instructions. Sarah Scoles, Discover Magazine, "Are Humans or Robots Better Fit for Exploring Space?," 12 Mar. 2019 But then the Geo took second in the obstacle course, before any points were awarded for the extreme rock-crawling bonus pile. Car and Driver, "The Battle of the Off-Road Beaters: Ford F-150 Custom vs. Geo Tracker, Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery," 30 Nov. 2016 And yet, returned to Broadway, Cats just keeps crawling along, full of sound and fur, signifying nothing. Jesse Oxfeld, Town & Country, "How Cats Set the Stage for the Modern Mega-Musical," 1 Aug. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The art crawl culminated with a glitzy exhibition of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, the evening’s sponsor. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "A Great KAWS: The Artist Is Honored at the Academy of Art’s Tribeca Ball," 13 Apr. 2019 The mutant is now four and a half times faster at laying eggs, and can lay 10 more eggs, just before the other bees can lay their second one, since each new egg makes the mutant faster, while the other bees’ egg-development slows to a crawl. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘How Equality and Inequality Shape Birds and Bees’," 9 Nov. 2018 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

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

Comments on crawl

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