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

Air suspension to the rescue again: the Rover compressed its rear suspension on the passenger side while going full-droop on the driver side to crawl down over the banking and drag the trailer back up to the road. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret Weapon for Towing? Air Suspension," 20 Nov. 2018 In the Idlib camp, Maya and her father had to crawl on the bare earth to get anywhere. Washington Post, "Syrian girl born without legs gets new prosthetics in Turkey," 8 July 2018 The hole is just big enough for someone to crawl through. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burglar enters Greenfield Best Buy by taking sledgehammer to wall," 31 May 2018 Kelly began shooting back and was struck on his leg and neck before crawling under a guardrail to seek cover. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Harrowing video shows roadside gun battle between Pennsylvania police, man pulled over for traffic stop," 13 Aug. 2018 Many also have delayed development of motor skills such as sitting and crawling. NBC News, "FDA approves cannabis-based drug for epilepsy," 25 June 2018 James would go talk to the church staff while Koehler, a retired mechanical engineer, would crawl under vehicles and collect data on the tires as well as take odometer readings. Justin Price, The Courier-Journal, "Child's death led family in a crusade for 15-passenger van safety," 10 May 2018 When the priest called on the congregation to exchange a sign of peace, Connor darted out of the pew, ran to the front of the church, crawled across laps, and hugged her. BostonGlobe.com, "Raising Connor," 4 May 2018 They were aided by a robot with a camera and the light that had the ability to crawl and float through the sewer system. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "'I Was Just Praying to God to Help Me.' 13-Year-Old Boy Trapped in a Sewer Pipe for 12 Hours Describes His Harrowing Ordeal," 3 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Slip into French Quarter wine cellars, sip a bit of the green fairy or go on a wine crawl through the Crescent City, during the 26th annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, "Peek into French Quarter wine cellars: A NOWFE 'experience'," 23 Mar. 2018 Take part in a cross between a bar crawl and a ghost tour just in time for the ghouls and spooks of the Halloween season. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, RedEye Chicago, "Hunt for ghosts on this haunted Chicago bar crawl," 8 Sep. 2017 Legislating had slowed to a crawl under Martinez and Democratic lawmakers. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Democratic wins in these 9 states will have seismic policy consequences," 9 Nov. 2018 Give it a proper send-off with a bar crawl for warm cocktails. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Oscars celebrate change, region recovers from nor'easter, Bridgeport transforms | Morning Newsletter," 5 Mar. 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

Comments on crawl

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