\ 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

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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 However, sometimes not knowing your dog's health issues may lead to problems that could creep up on you and affect their lifespan. Greta Good, Chron, "Want to know the secret to your dog's health? This allergy testing kit will help," 31 Mar. 2021 But two months in, the fear of being alone began to creep in, though. Stefanie Groner, Glamour, "The Fear of Being Alone Is Real—Here’s How to Face It," 27 Jan. 2021 After a few years, a startling truth began to creep up on me: That rye was a rare thing. New York Times, "My Search for Lost Time in a Slice of Jewish Rye," 19 Jan. 2021 Then, the state issued its shutdown order as COVID-19 began to creep into local communities, and crime patterns radically shifted. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, "A year like no other for L.A. crime: Homicides surge, robberies and rapes drop," 3 Jan. 2021 As shadows began to creep longer along the red play bridge at Macauley Park in the Tenderloin on Sunday evening, Supervisor Matt Haney spoke to some parents about the impending closure. Matthias Gafni,, "‘My heart breaks’: Reeling Bay Area parents question playground closures under stay-at-home order," 6 Dec. 2020 As summer turned to fall, coronavirus case numbers in Greece began to creep up again—and then to take off exponentially. Sharon Jacobs, National Geographic, "How a legacy of crises inspired Greeks’ compassionate response to COVID-19," 20 Nov. 2020 Phrases from British English continue to creep in to our copy. WSJ, "Vol. 34, No. 3: ‘Year to Date’," 8 Apr. 2021 Another 95,188 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in Illinois on Monday, as statewide hospitalizations and the positivity rate continue to creep up, public health officials reported. Jenny Whidden,, "Another 95,188 coronavirus vaccinations administered in Illinois as hospitalizations, positivity rate inch up," 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Patton Oswalt stars as the big-headed creep himself, whose life is going down the tubes. Bethy Squires, Vulture, "Patton Oswalt Lasers Into Our Hearts in the Trailer for Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.," 21 Apr. 2021 As the air turned cold last fall, Fredy felt hopelessness creep in., "A year of grit and despair: For one class of immigrant students, the pandemic threatens to upend their educational dreams," 26 Mar. 2021 And the slow, sure creep of the worst human tendencies through the most popular social or collaborative web sites feels like a failure for our species. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, "The death of Yahoo! Answers is the death of a collegial vision of the Internet," 7 Apr. 2021 Expecting girls to be able to stanch its creep by themselves is too much. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Unending Assaults on Girlhood," 30 Mar. 2021 The creep of politics into every facet of public life, and increasingly the push to insert politics into private life, forces people who disagree on things which are not that important into conflict. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage mayor candidate Q&As: The past year has been marked by increasing civic discord in Anchorage. What would you do to reduce frustration, distrust and anger that increasingly has characterized civic conversation?," 14 Mar. 2021 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

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Creep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on creep

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