\ 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

encroach, inch, worm

Synonyms: Noun

bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

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Examples of creep in a Sentence


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


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

With the years, the number of surviving veterans has dwindled and there is a creeping sense that the broad visions of the wartime allies and their successors have narrowed. Alan Cowell, New York Times, "D-Day in Photos: Heroes of a More Certain Time," 6 June 2019 As the Manhattan Company Building’s construction crept past the 20th story in August 1929, Severance and Matsui returned to their drafting board. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "A Friendship Turned to Rivalry. A Feud That Changed the New York Skyline.," 27 Mar. 2019 In the first big character change of his life, the kid who just wanted to make everyone laugh reportedly became noticeably less plucky as anxiety and depression began to creep into his mind. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Jim Carrey is getting political with artwork but it's far from the first time he's reinvented himself," 6 June 2018 With money and tourism, a sameness has begun to creep in, dull suburban paint jobs and topiaries, a homogenous Airbnb aesthetic flattening the contours. Anne Gisleson, Curbed, "Bywater faces its future," 23 May 2018 After nearly two years of a matte lips obsession permeating the market (thanks to Kylie, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Kat Von D to name a few), lip gloss is beginning to creep back into our beauty lexicon. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Pat McGrath Is Adding Lip Gloss to Her Permanent Collection, So Matte Lips Are Officially Over," 26 Apr. 2018 But pay attention: once the car completely halted, the adaptive cruise control became inactive, and the car began to creep forward. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Review: Subaru Crosstrek finds sweet spot between value and drivability," 21 Apr. 2018 Now, more than year after his 24-day stint in the Trump administration came to an end, the retired Army general is beginning to creep back into public life. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Michael Flynn’s Comeback Is On," 20 Apr. 2018 After Melchionda’s perfect game, Fredericks felt the moment slowly begin to creep up on his players. Katherine Fominykh,, "Marshfield’s Brianna Melchionda brings high heat for Rams," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But with a new Prime Minister committed to leaving the EU at the end of October and an EU with little hope left of saving a Brexit deal, a no-deal creeps ever closer. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "Boris Johnson dodges questions on cocaine and Brexit. But it likely won't stop him being the UK's next leader," 12 June 2019 One of the goals of the book is to help boys not to grow up to be creeps. Yvonne Villarreal,, "Ellie Kemper’s ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ makes a difference by series finale," 7 June 2019 Getty Images Another day, another story about the man who is currently President of the United States being a mega creep. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Brooke Shields Reveals the Unimpressive Pickup Line Trump Once Used on Her," 4 Oct. 2017 Well, insanity creeps in and overwhelms; delusion and anxiety are the focal points. Bret Easton Ellis, Town & Country, "American Psycho Author Bret Easton Ellis Tells Us Where Patrick Bateman Would Be Today," 23 Feb. 2016 Power creep is a problem as old as comic books and so are creative solutions to bring heroes back down to earth. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Most Read," 12 Oct. 2018 Every weapon these interstellar creeps wield is bigger, louder, and deadlier than before. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "5 Space Forces From Sci-Fi and What We Can Learn From Them," 6 July 2018 CBD’s slow creep onto respectable restaurant menus has been noted elsewhere, too. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "How Hard Should We Lean into This Whole CBD Coffee Trend?," 16 Aug. 2018 The rise of the fashionable sneaker — the result of casual Friday’s inexorable creep across the rest of the week — has footwear retailers scrambling to adjust. Sandrine Rastello,, "Comfier shoes appear here to stay: Sneakers trend upends shoe retail," 30 May 2018

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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More Definitions for creep



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with creep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on creep

What made you want to look up creep? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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