1

peek

verb \ ˈpēk \
Updated on: 22 Apr 2018

Definition of peek

1 a : 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. Flagler
  • peeked 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

Examples of peek in a Sentence

  1. A little girl peeked around the corner of the chair at him.

  2. Close your eyes, and no peeking!

  3. She peeked ahead to the next chapter to see what happened next.

  4. He allowed some of his friends to peek at his next painting.

Recent Examples of peek from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of peek

Middle English piken

peek Synonyms

Synonyms

browse, dip, glance, glimpse, glint, skim;

Antonyms

gaze, stare;

Related Words

peep;

blink, squint;

look over, peruse, scan;


2

peek

noun

Definition of peek

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

Examples of peek in a Sentence

  1. took a peek at her Christmas gift hidden in the closet

Recent Examples of peek from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of peek

see 1peek

peek Synonyms

Related Words

gape, gaze, glare, leer, ogle, stare;



PEEK Defined for English Language Learners

peek

Definition of peek for English Language Learners

  • : to look at someone or something secretly especially from a hidden place

  • : to look at something briefly

  • : to show slightly : to be slightly visible


PEEK Defined for Kids

1

peek

verb \ ˈpēk \

Definition of peek for Students

peeked; peeking
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.

2

peek

noun

Definition of peek for Students

: a quick or sly look


Seen and Heard

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