\ ˈkrēp How to pronounce creep (audio) \
crept\ ˈkrept How to pronounce crept (audio) \; creeping

Definition of creep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to move along with the body prone and close to the ground A spider was creeping along the bathroom floor.
b : to move slowly on hands and knees He crept toward the edge of the cliff.
2a : to go very slowly The hours crept by.
b : to go timidly or cautiously so as to escape notice She crept away from the festive scene.
c : to enter or advance gradually so as to be almost unnoticed Age creeps up on us. A note of irritation crept into her voice.
3 : to have the sensation of being covered with creeping things The thought made his flesh creep.
4 of a plant : to spread or grow over a surface rooting at intervals or clinging with tendrils, stems, or aerial roots
5a : to slip or gradually shift position The high temperatures of the jet engine cause the turbine blade to creep.
b : to change shape permanently from prolonged stress or exposure to high temperatures



Definition of creep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a movement of or like creeping traffic moving at a creep
2 : a distressing sensation like that caused by the creeping of insects over one's flesh especially : a feeling of apprehension or horror usually used in plural with the That gives me the creeps.
3 : a feed trough accessible only by young animals and used especially to supply special or supplementary feed

called also creep feeder

4 : the slow change of dimensions of an object from prolonged exposure to high temperature or stress
5 : an unpleasant or obnoxious person
6 : a slow but persistent increase or elevation This political inertia … makes budget creep inevitable.The Wall Street Journal

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Synonyms for creep

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of creep in a Sentence

Verb She crept toward the edge of the roof and looked over. I caught him creeping down the stairs to the kitchen. She crept into bed next to her sleeping husband. The hours crept by as we waited for morning. a train creeping through the town The price of gasoline has crept back up to three dollars a gallon. A few mistakes crept in during the last revision of the paper. new words creeping into the language Noun I get the creeps every time he walks by. I hate snakes. They give me the creeps. That guy gives me the creeps.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the past weeks, as the coronavirus crept into the country, that crush of people was a vulnerable target. Brian M. Rosenthal, New York Times, "Density Is New York City’s Big ‘Enemy’ in the Coronavirus Fight," 23 Mar. 2020 People just a few miles from your home may be suffering from hunger as illness creeps their way. David D. Haynes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As coronavirus spreads in Wisconsin, it's a time to connect with our values of resilience and compassion," 19 Mar. 2020 Yet, as the draft creeps closer, critics of the Bengals have created speculation that Burrow might not want to come to the Queen City. Tyler Dragon,, "Cincinnati Bengals have leverage, too. Here's what the team can do in the NFL Draft.," 18 Feb. 2020 Expect the Warriors to approach 120 points on their own as this one creeps Over the number in the final minutes. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Miami Heat at Golden State Warriors odds, picks and best bets," 10 Feb. 2020 As autumn crept into our days, news reports of RSV, a mysterious polio-like virus and influenza flipped the switch from concerned to frenzied. Washington Post, "Motherhood can be isolating. My anxiety made it worse.," 31 Jan. 2020 He and the roughly 50 million people stuck in Hubei province are still facing a quarantine period that looks likely to drag into weeks and possibly months, as the numbers of infections and deaths creep higher. Time, "Viral Outbreaks Are Here to Stay. This Is How Humans Will Fight Back," 30 Jan. 2020 Hotter temperatures in the summer bring more diseases and pests, and whatever moisture might have been stored in the soil will evaporate as drought creeps in. Popular Science, "Last year’s historic floods ruined 20 million acres of farmland," 20 Jan. 2020 As Creole crept into the dialogue for the Louisiana French standard shrimp and grits with Mexican chorizo, the conversation fell apart in a soupy mess. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Julia’s Bistro & Bar proudly plants French and Mexican flags in San Antonio’s Beacon Hill," 9 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There's nothing like the home-y comfort of slurping warming bowls of soup, especially when the cold creeps in. Bon Appétit, "73 Hearty Soups and Stews Perfect for Chilly Days," 25 Mar. 2020 Tremblay’s stories are known to give Stephen King the creeps. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best mysteries of 2019: Carole E. Barrowman's picks include Laura Lippman, Attica Locke, Miriam Toews," 13 Dec. 2019 When the fall weather creeps in, so, too, does an urge to seek out ways to terrify ourselves. Natalie B. Compton, The Know, "How to navigate the etiquette of dark tourism," 27 Oct. 2019 There’s zero backwall creep, the bow stands upright with ease and holding on point comes without effort. Tony Hansen, Outdoor Life, "Best New Compound Bows from the 2019 Archery Trade Show," 14 Jan. 2019 In my formal learning, Ronald Reagan was a president responsible for inequality, not for providing the strong, steady hand that reversed the creep of communism. WSJ, "Capitalism, Socialism and Haley’s Comment," 3 Mar. 2020 Some of it was bad apples in the football program, more of it was bad apples in the administration, and a ton of it was from a creep of a human being named Larry Nassar, who abused his privilege and hundreds of victims. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: An open letter to Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker," 16 Feb. 2020 But the steady creep of Chronic Wasting Disease has forced the refuge managers to reconsider this tradition. Ben Long, Outdoor Life, "Can the National Elk Refuge Survive CWD?," 29 Jan. 2020 More often, the toll comes in a slow creep, harming some species more than others, in ways both stealthy and subtle. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Why do ocean animals eat plastic?," 5 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'creep.' 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 creep


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for creep

Verb and Noun

Middle English crepen, from Old English crēopan; akin to Old Norse krjūpa to creep

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Time Traveler for creep

Time Traveler

The first known use of creep was before the 12th century

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Statistics for creep

Last Updated

4 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Creep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for creep


How to pronounce creep (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of creep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move slowly with the body close to the ground
: to move slowly and quietly especially in order to not be noticed
: to go or seem to go very slowly



English Language Learners Definition of creep (Entry 2 of 2)

: a strange person who you strongly dislike
: an uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or fear


\ ˈkrēp How to pronounce creep (audio) \
crept\ ˈkrept \; creeping

Kids Definition of creep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move along with the body close to the ground or floor : move slowly on hands and knees : crawl
2 : to move or advance slowly, timidly, or quietly Moving quietly, I crept halfway down the stairs and listened.— Avi, Crispin
3 : to grow or spread along the ground or along a surface Ivy was creeping up a wall.



Kids Definition of creep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a strange or unlikable person
2 : a slow, timid, or quiet movement
3 : a feeling of nervousness or fear usually used in pl.Spiders give me the creeps.

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More from Merriam-Webster on creep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for creep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with creep

Spanish Central: Translation of creep

Nglish: Translation of creep for Spanish Speakers

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

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