peek

verb
\ 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

peek

noun

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

Verb

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.

Noun

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

There are so many incredible bather paintings, and so often the vantage point is peeking through on a scene of women who don’t know you’re looking at them. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "As Frieze Los Angeles Opens, Three Young California Artists Are Reinventing What Figurative Painting Can Be," 15 Feb. 2019 But without the ability to peek into its dangerous and inaccessible crater, scientists have struggled to predict what is next. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Drones Peer inside a Volcano," 1 Nov. 2017 His gloved hands clutched an umbrella topped with a gold dragon’s head and floral socks peeked out of tasseled loafers. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Inside the Bizarre Life of a Male Street-Style Star," 14 Jan. 2019 Well, perhaps peeking inside the White House to see how the most iconic residence in the United States is celebrating the winter festivities. Carson Blackwelder, Country Living, "Your Guide to the Best Christmas Movies to Watch on TV This Holiday Season," 18 Nov. 2018 The skirt featured a high-slit that hit just below her left thigh, which allowed for her sky-high stilettos to peek out. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Halsey Wore White Feather Eyebrows on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 Runway," 9 Nov. 2018 The station also showed the woman peeking out of her balcony door and smoking a cigarette. Fox News, "The Latest: Shots fired at California senior complex," 14 Sep. 2018 Assorted Surprises While the iPhones and the Apple Watch are the main course for September 12, a few other gadgets that could peek out to say hello. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "What to Expect From Apple's 2018 iPhone Event," 5 Sep. 2018 For its spring 2018 show, Eckhaus Latta cast artist Maia Ruth, who was eight months pregnant, styling her with several undone buttons so as to let her baby bump peek out. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Model Mara Martin Walked the 2018 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Show While Breastfeeding," 16 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The image appears to show just another ordinary day of classes, the other photos in this sneak peek hint at new episodes full of drama, fun, and even danger. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""On My Block" Season 2 Teaser Video and First Look Photos Hint That Ruby Is Still Alive," 7 Mar. 2019 Eventually, someone will come along and restore a measure of decorum to politics, sparing voters the inside peek at their trips to the dentist or the fridge. Karl Rove, WSJ, "The Weirdness of American Politics," 23 Jan. 2019 Thanks to Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow, we were given a small sneak peek inside the bash held in L.A over the weekend. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Justin Theroux Posted a Sweet, Mysterious 50th Birthday Message for Jennifer Aniston," 12 Feb. 2019 This foreign language mix-up was one of the best scenes of the episode, taking a peek and one of the hidden technologies of Star Trek that audiences often take for granted. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Is All About Friendship and Death This Week," 8 Feb. 2019 Who could pass up a peek at Queen Vee and Queen Bey's collections, united at last? Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Victoria's Stunning Crown Is Set to Go on View at the V&A Museum," 5 Feb. 2019 Take a peek at toomuchmetal.com, and see them in the store (207 E. Buffalo St.) for the first time Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m. 7. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "14 things to do on Milwaukee Day 2018," 12 Apr. 2018 Finally, from the edge of Yavapai Point, Templin got a peek of the river. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Lees Ferry: Gateway to Grand Canyon rafting and the Colorado River," 9 July 2018 Visitors to the mall will see a sneak peek of Toy Story Land concept art and be able to hop into an interactive photo booth, according to BoxLunch. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Toy Story Land mall tour to make stop at Orland Square in Orland Park," 15 June 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

Verb

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

Noun

1636, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peek

Verb and Noun

Middle English piken

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Learn More about peek

Dictionary Entries near peek

Peebles

Pee Dee

peegee hydrangea

peek

peekaboo

peel

Peel

Statistics for peek

Last Updated

10 Mar 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

peek

verb

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

peek

verb
\ 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.

peek

noun

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

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