\ ˈpēk How to pronounce peek (audio) \
peeked; peeking; peeks

Definition of peek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to look furtively A little girl peeked around the corner of the chair at him.
b : to peer through a crack or hole or from a place of concealment often used with in or out peeked in through the window— J. M. Flaglerpeeked out at us from behind the curtains— Winifred Bambrick
2 : to take a brief look : glance peeked ahead to the next chapter to see what would happen



Definition of peek (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a furtive look
2 : a brief look : glance

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Synonyms & Antonyms for peek

Synonyms: Verb

browse, dip, glance, glimpse, glint, skim

Synonyms: Noun

cast, eye, gander, glance, glimpse, look, peep, regard, sight, view

Antonyms: Verb

gaze, stare

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Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

Peek, peak, and pique: they sound the same but mean very different things.

The first one we learn is peek: it has to do with looking, especially furtively or quickly or through a small space, as in "open the box and peek inside." It's both a noun and a verb; when you peek, you take a peek. Our advice for remembering this one is to keep in mind that you peek in order to see.

Peak is the verb you use to talk about reaching a maximum, or coming to a highest point, literally or figuratively, as in "The meteor shower will last for several days but will peak on Sunday." Its noun counterpart, which refers to various pointed or projecting parts, is more common: something that peaks reaches a peak. Just as every mountain has a peak, thinking of the peak—the highest point—is the way to remember that peak is the choice for reaching the highest levels. Associating the "a" in peak with the "a" in maximum or with a capital "A" (the most mountain-like of letters) can be helpful.

Pique is the oddball of this trio. We know the "ique" spelling from the likes of technique, antique, and unique, but pique nonetheless looks a little exotic. It comes from a French word meaning literally "to prick," but its earliest English use was as a noun. The noun is still used: a pique is a transient feeling of wounded vanity—a kind of resentment. As a verb, pique was (and still is, especially in British English) used to mean "to arouse anger or resentment in," as in "Their rudeness piqued me." Now, however, it's most often our interest or curiosity that gets piqued—that is to say, our interest or curiosity is aroused, as in "The large key hanging next on the wall piqued my curiosity."

Pique has another meaning too, though it's less common than any of those already mentioned. Pique sometimes is used to mean "to take pride in (oneself)," as in "She piques herself on her editing skills."

Master this trio, and you can pique yourself on your word skills.

Examples of peek in a Sentence


A little girl peeked around the corner of the chair at him. Close your eyes, and no peeking! She peeked ahead to the next chapter to see what happened next. He allowed some of his friends to peek at his next painting.


took a peek at her Christmas gift hidden in the closet
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

They're tied to avoid any hair peeking out or spontaneous unwrapping. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Interview: Halima Aden Explains Why Her Gorgeous New Headscarf Collection Isn't Just for Hijabis," 30 Apr. 2019 There is, additionally, a livestream video camera for those who want to peek at the trees without moving much. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Seattle-area weekend weather? ‘Hard to say.’ There could be thunderstorms, or not. But the cherry trees at UW will be gorgeous.," 29 Mar. 2019 Others had distinctive features peeking from under the tarps like red checkered racing design, bright red spokes, or the Porsche lettering. Ben Finley, The Seattle Times, "Gas explosion also damaged world-famous Porsche collection," 12 Apr. 2019 The 30-year-old model started the sneak peeks early, kicking off with a shot of Levine and his band arriving to Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Behati Prinsloo Is Having the Best Time at the Super Bowl," 4 Feb. 2019 What’s left is a strange, sour tale that’s neither origin mystery nor journey of self-discovery, but a vexing gesture toward damage and delusion that never permits us to peek under its broken heroine’s hood. Christina Choe, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Nancy,’ a Troubled Woman Seeks Connection," 7 June 2018 With a spatula, carefully peek under the edge of the rice. Caleb Barber,, "Recipe: Try this big, golden cake of rice with a little ham and cheese tucked inside," 16 Apr. 2018 He is seen peeking under Claire's skirt, and the camera flashes to a shot of her underwear. Samantha Schmidt,, "Molly Ringwald reckons with the 'The Breakfast Club' in the #MeToo era," 9 Apr. 2018 Back in June, Kylie 'grammed this gorgeous natural selfie with little Stormi peeking from the corner of the pic. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "10 Times the Kardashians Hilariously Clapped Back At Instagram Haters," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There's no official guest list right now, but W Magazine gave a sneak peek at the host committee. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About the 2019 Met Gala: "Camp: Notes on Fashion"," 25 Apr. 2019 Here, model Hunter McGrady gives us a peek inside what goes into her hustle. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "The Hustle: Hunter McGrady on Her Fitness Routine," 11 Apr. 2019 Of the hotel's 357 rooms, there's one suite in particular that is considered the Cadillac's most sought after, and below, General Manager Giorgio Di Pietro gives us a peek inside. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "Take a peek inside the art deco resort in Miami Beach that hosted old Hollywood's finest.," 12 Mar. 2019 Miley previously gave us a sneak peek from the show, wearing a dress literally made out of vinyl records. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Miley Cyrus Channels Hannah Montana at the 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Afterparty," 1 Mar. 2019 Cross is an athleisure enthusiast and gave her fans a sneak peek at the Reebok collaboration on Instagram earlier this week. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The Beckhams’ Latest Fashion Moment Was the Double-Date the World’s Been Waiting For," 23 Jan. 2019 This year's message aired on Christmas day at 10 a.m. ET, but the Kensington Royal Instagram account gave fans a sneak peek from her address on Christmas Eve. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message Features a Rare Prince Charles Photo," 25 Dec. 2018 Though both the Grammy winner, 28, and her British actor beau, 27, have kept their relationship under wraps, the singer gave fans a peek at their private romance on her sixth studio album reputation. Nicole Sands,, "King of Her Heart! Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Stroll Hand-In-Hand on Romantic Caribbean Getaway," 9 July 2018 Funko followers have known the new cereals were coming since March when Funko founder Mike Becker gave a sneak peek to the Coronado Eagle & Journal in California. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "'Does it float?' New Pennywise cereal is about to turn breakfast into a bloody mess," 31 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1636, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peek

Verb and Noun

Middle English piken

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Dictionary Entries near peek


Pee Dee

peegee hydrangea





Statistics for peek

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for peek

The first known use of peek was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for peek



English Language Learners Definition of peek

: to look at someone or something secretly especially from a hidden place
: to look at something briefly
: to show slightly : to be slightly visible


\ ˈpēk How to pronounce peek (audio) \
peeked; peeking

Kids Definition of peek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to look in a sneaky or cautious way He peeked through the bushes.
2 : to take a quick glance I peeked at the next chapter.



Kids Definition of peek (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick or sly look

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More from Merriam-Webster on peek

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with peek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peek

Spanish Central: Translation of peek

Nglish: Translation of peek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peek for Arabic Speakers

Comments on peek

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


something valued as if it were money

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