\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for peek

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Drones can serve a variety of purposes, including law enforcement surveillance, to obtain professional or amateur videos, or to peek into remote sites or places not accessible from the ground. Jeff Barker,, "A drone flew around the Ravens’ stadium during a game. Now, ‘drone detection’ is coming to Camden Yards for the Orioles’ season.," 7 Apr. 2021 Shop last-minute Easter deals on apparel, toys, gifts and more (peek our top picks from the sale here). Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Easter 2021: All the best sales to shop for Easter weekend," 3 Apr. 2021 Only the older men eat with us as women serve and teens peek curiously from just outside the doors. Rick Steves,, "Rick Steves’ Europe: Laz-pitality in Northeastern Turkey," 2 Apr. 2021 From afar, ginger tentacles peek out from rocky-looking surfaces. Brian Amaral,, "Making a push for a Rhode Island state coral," 5 Mar. 2021 Light is starting to peek over the horizon, however. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County warns against spring break travel, as potential reopenings near," 5 Mar. 2021 In recent years, this preparation meant testing out ways to work directly with large tech platforms such as Google without being able to peek at any personally identifiable data. Keach Hagey, WSJ, "Google’s User-Tracking Crackdown Has Advertisers Bracing for Change," 3 Mar. 2021 The officer was able to peek inside to see a barking, yellow-haired dog in a cage. John Benson, cleveland, "Incessant dog barking draws ire of apartment neighbors: Broadview Heights Police Blotter," 16 Dec. 2020 Not the performance itself but the possibility that the audience may peek behind the curtain. New York Times, "The Performance of Racial Passing," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a sneak peek at Thursday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Khloé Kardashian and Kim Kardashian West face off against half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner in a sibling volleyball match to prove their athletic skills. Ally Mauch,, "Kardashians Get Competitive with 'Genetically Gifted' Jenners During Volleyball Match on KUWTK," 30 Mar. 2021 Though Tina Burner is gone, wild makeup skills still run wild in the Werk Room in EW's exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. Joey Nolfi,, "Bonkers makeovers run amok in new RuPaul's Drag Race first act preview," 24 Mar. 2021 The interception column on Brian George’s stat sheet remained blank until the Aggies’ regular season finale, and Texas A&M’s 41-27 win over North Carolina in the Orange Bowl gave fans a peek at what could be coming for the transfer cornerback. Hannah Underwood, Dallas News, "Texas A&M offseason breakout candidates: Can CB Brian George make a splash in the secondary?," 23 Mar. 2021 In the exclusive sneak peek above, Red's closest ally is tortured for information about the Sikorsky Archive. Alamin Yohannes,, "Watch Laverne Cox's sadistic interrogator torture Dembe in The Blacklist sneak peak," 12 Mar. 2021 In an exclusive sneak peek, a pair of contestants kick off their journey to conquer the survival challenge — in the nude, of course. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Naked and Afraid Contestants Brace Themselves for 'Worst Night Ever' in Sneak Peek at New Season," 3 Mar. 2021 In an exclusive sneak peek in the new discovery+ show Mary McCartney Serves It Up, the Foo Fighters frontman impresses with his veggie lasagna. Anna Chan, Billboard, "Dave Grohl Impresses With His Lasagna on 'Mary McCartney Serves It Up': Exclusive Sneak Peek," 2 Feb. 2021 In the sneak peek, Khloé emphasized the seriousness of the virus. Elizabeth Gulino,, "“This Shit Is Real”: Khloé Kardashian Reveals She Had COVID-19 Earlier This Year," 29 Oct. 2020 That means viewers may get a sneak peek inside the homes of some of the nominees, and a few ball gowns might just be traded in for high-end nap dresses. Sabienna Bowman,, "Obviously, The 2021 Golden Globes Will Be Weird — Here’s What To Expect On Sunday," 26 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about peek

Time Traveler for peek

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for peek

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Peek.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on peek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!