\ 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 But with reports on Monday suggesting authorities were struggling to contain the virus’s spread, caution crept in. Justina Lee,, "Don’t Blame the Quants For Monday’s Stock Rout, Blame the Humans," 10 May 2020 Zillow expects prices to drop no more than 3% by the end of this year, and then creep back up throughout 2021. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus takes steam out of home buying season but sales, prices should rebound," 4 May 2020 Zillow expects prices to drop no more than 3% by the end of this year, and then creep back up throughout 2021. Sarah Brookbank,, "Kroger meat limit, Acton support, coronavirus cases in Ohio, Kentucky, nursing homes, home sales," 4 May 2020 The anti-Whitmer rally that Gibbs attended was called Operation Gridlock because participants drove in creeping caravans of honking cars to tie up traffic for miles around downtown Lansing. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Royal Oak commissioners censure member who flouted COVID rules at anti-Whitmer rally," 28 Apr. 2020 The name comes from pink wildflowers called creeping phlox that bloom in early spring, under April’s full moon, per Catherine Boeckmann at the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "April’s Super ‘Pink’ Moon Will Be the Brightest Full Moon of 2020," 30 Mar. 2020 But for all the success, over the last couple of years, the uninsured rate has started creeping back up. Abby Goodnough, New York Times, "Obamacare Turns 10 Today. Here’s a Look at What Works and Doesn’t.," 23 Mar. 2020 Pull other weeds—dock, creeping woodsorrel, willowherb—before they flower (damp soil means it’s still an easy job), but consider leaving dandelions to bloom so mason bees have something to eat while the rest of the garden wakes up. Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, "Your Ultimate Spring Gardening To-Do List for March and April," 16 Mar. 2020 The third vital factor here is the fatality rate from this virus, which will creep higher as healthcare resources are stretched thinner and thinner. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How Social Distancing Can Defeat Coronavirus," 13 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Of course, all this progress continues to run into one small problem: bugs give people the creeps. Jason Plautz, Ars Technica, "“Out poked two antennae”—crafting an insect-based dinner party," 28 Nov. 2019 Firefighters battling a fire in Yolo County are also struggling with the weather as hot and dry conditions begin their inevitable creep throughout California. Alexa Díaz,, "Fire weather arrives in L.A. as firefighters battle blaze in Yolo County," 10 June 2019 As the war of words raged, AI continued its creep into our daily lives, from the new facial recognition software in Apple’s iPhone X to the increasingly savvy responses from digital assistants Siri, Alexa and Cortana. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Elon Musk says AI could doom human civilization. Zuckerberg disagrees. Who's right?," 2 Jan. 2018 In the story, the process that the narrator goes through—trying to figure out whether Sam is a blot—is similar to the process anyone undergoes in determining whether their new partner is cool or a creep whose monstrousness will slowly unfurl. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, "Kate Folk on Discerning Reality on the Internet," 16 Mar. 2020 There is, after all, a creep factor associated with a smartphone lens that can take pictures of people, or anything else, from so far away. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "Review: The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Can't Deliver On All the Hype," 4 Mar. 2020 Instead of a constant, mindless creep, your various troops are unleashed in waves which mark the four distinct rounds of play. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Cloudspire: a $130 MOBA for your tabletop?," 8 Feb. 2020 Whoever holds the majority in Congress won't cut down executive overgrowth in hopes that their party will soon control its creep. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Can impeachment be fixed?," 17 Jan. 2020 Kain, a consultant for the security firm Tevora, also isn't oblivious to his creation's creep factor. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "This Tesla Mod Turns a Model S Into a Mobile 'Surveillance Station'," 9 Aug. 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

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Creep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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