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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for creep

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After making 11 of their first 15 shots, the Jazz apparently bored of playing with their food and momentarily let the Nets creep back within a dozen points early in the second quarter. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Jazz return home, work out some kinks in annihilation of short-handed Brooklyn Nets," 24 Mar. 2021 Temps on Wednesday will warm into the low/mid 80s in the metro with dewpoints that will creep back into the low 60s. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Summer Stickies Return End of Week," 19 Aug. 2020 However, wariness about the novel coronavirus had started to creep in and activities were being postponed as everyone waited to see where the virus was going to take us. Jason Rosenbaum, Quartz, "How to get furloughs right—and recover fast," 15 Mar. 2021 Sooners guard Alondes Williams exploited a mismatch inside for two buckets to creep back within two points with 42 seconds left. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Jericho Sims, Courtney Ramey power No. 15 Texas past No. 16 Oklahoma," 4 Mar. 2021 Little by little, the restaurant industry has begun to creep back to life. Jacob Rosen, CBS News, ""Ghost kitchens" help restaurants recover COVID-19 losses," 2 Mar. 2021 The great brown bears, which for decades have survived only near the Rocky Mountains or in national parks, Alaska and Canada, have started to slowly creep back into to more of their native range. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, "Were grizzly bears ever indigenous to Minnesota?," 22 Jan. 2021 After that, the Sun will start to creep back north again. William Teets, The Conversation, "What you need to know about this year’s winter solstice and the great conjunction," 18 Dec. 2020 Over the billions of years a simulation might run, errors can surely creep into the computer code. Stav Dimitropoulos, Popular Mechanics, "A Dyson Sphere Could Bring Humans Back From the Dead, Researchers Say," 10 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The palace was an avatar of the city’s southward creep. Washington Post, "In London’s Crystal Palace neighborhood, looking backward to move forward," 12 Feb. 2021 Coach Les Miles was revealed in an internal investigation in 2013 to be a power-wielding creep who preyed on young women on campus. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: The buck stops where for Oregon State and its embattled president?," 16 Mar. 2021 The longer a team plans to hang around, the more wild thoughts like bathroom laundry creep into heads. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Aztecs embrace NCAA oddness, remember teammates who missed out," 14 Mar. 2021 Some of the trouble can be traced back to the pure creep factor of the main character. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "The Problem With This Kids’ Show Isn’t Just the Giant Penis," 26 Feb. 2021 Widely adopted public financing of campaigns would stop or reverse this plutocratic creep, while also freeing politicians from the incessant mandate of grubbing for dollars from big-ticket donors. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, "How the Democratic Party Can Create a Majoritarian Coalition," 11 Feb. 2021 The Angels, if inadvertently, avoided the embarrassment of hiring a guy who turned out to be a creep. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Boys will be boys? Men like Jared Porter are driven by entitlement and stupidity," 21 Jan. 2021 He’s a Yale alum and clearly kind of a creep, but also charming? Emma Specter, Vogue, "35 Thoughts I Had While Rewatching Mystic Pizza," 18 Jan. 2021 Promising undeniable smoothness is the 3-pound, zero-creep TriggerTech trigger. Jace Bauserman, Outdoor Life, "The Hottest New Crossbows for 2021," 7 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about creep

Time Traveler for creep

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for creep

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Creep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!