\ 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

Taking baths, peeking in the dishwasher, going for walks. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Whoof! Elizabeth Warren's dog is sending text updates on her 2020 presidential campaign," 26 June 2019 One shot panned across a closeup of Todd Gurley’s face, his eyes peeking out in between his braids. Kalyn Kahler,, "In Praise Of ... Football Hype Videos," 14 June 2019 Police said Michael Edward Brothers, 58, was the man seen in surveillance video peeking in the window of a home on Bismarck Drive in Campbell around 1:20 a.m. on June 3. Joseph Geha, The Mercury News, "Man suspected of peeping in a child’s bedroom window arrested," 13 June 2019 But really, someone doesn’t need to even peek in your phone. Kim Komando, Fox News, "Quick ways to stop phone snoops in their tracks," 18 Mar. 2018 The rear window was halfway down, a placid German Shepherd peeking over the glass. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Why the 2019 Toyota 4Runner Defies Rationality," 29 May 2019 Bryan said that the opossum was actually snuggled into one of the girls dresses, with its head peeking out of the pocket. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "A Opossum Was Living in a 7-Year-Old’s Room For Three Days Before Anyone Noticed," 19 Apr. 2019 Budding cartographers will appreciate the simple map at the book’s beginning, and playful die-cuts let kiddos peek into windows and under bridges. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 17 best kids’ books about design and cities," 12 Dec. 2018 Those are pretty standard tricks in today’s hybrids and pure electrics, but the Porsche also peeks into the navigation system to further fine-tune where and how to modulate the power, particularly through the new Hybrid Auto mode. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Porsche's New Cayenne Hybrid Checks Your Route to Pick its Power," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Get five of our best stories in your inbox every Saturday, plus a peek behind the scenes into how one came together. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: It came from beneath the feet," 12 July 2019 According to Bartges, feline idiopathic cystitis is an example of a vexing animal health issue that can give us a peek into our own psychology. Daphne Miller,, "A new meaning for ‘sick as a dog’? Your pet’s health may tell you something about your own," 11 July 2019 Here’s a peek at a few of the things taking place this week. Carol Kovach,, "This weekend’s River Days features fun for all ages: West Shore Chatter," 9 July 2019 The 2013 floods took out the bridge, according to park officials, but there’s a new one that allows you to get a peek at the 40-foot Ouzel Falls. Mindy Sink, The Know, "5 of the best waterfall hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park," 9 July 2019 The video also gives a peek at the movie’s preproduction process, with Kruger and Chastain at a gun range and Fan and Nyong’o laced up in boxing gloves. Marcus Jones,, "Jessica Chastain shares first look at her female-led spy thriller 355," 8 July 2019 The giant planet will allow stargazers a peek at its four largest moons and colorful bands through telescopes and binoculars. Arnold Pearlstein,, "The Stars This Week: July 7 - 13," 7 July 2019 Meeting her musical icon reduced Katharine McPhee to tears. (April 5) AP, AP Katharine McPhee is giving her followers a peek into her honeymoon. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Katharine McPhee shares photo kissing David Foster on their Italian honeymoon," 3 July 2019 Through there, even farther inside the pyramid, Kristin gets a peek at the jackpot. National Geographic, "Episode 4: Scuba diving in a pyramid," 2 July 2019

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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Learn More about peek

Dictionary Entries near peek


Pee Dee

peegee hydrangea





Statistics for peek

Last Updated

14 Jul 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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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