\ ˈpēk \
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

When no one else strolled into the park to peek at the bodies, the men loaded the bags into the back of a minibus. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "To Rebuild a Syrian City, Men First Dig Up and Rebury the Dead," 26 Oct. 2018 Many Koreans who have never seen a curling match have nonetheless traveled to remote Gangneung to peek at their nation's new darlings in person., "South Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ a Global Sensation," 23 Feb. 2018 The model showed off a streak of pink decorating her intricate topknot, peeking out from the top of an otherwise sleek style. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid Debuted Pink Hair at Dior Homme’s Tokyo Show," 3 Dec. 2018 Next to them, a Jizo Buddha statue stood buried under snow, only its red hood peeking out. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Slow Skiing in Japan's Deep North," 11 Oct. 2018 The tattoo was mostly visible peeking out from a silver strapless dress at the Avengers: Infinity War premiere, which Johansson attended with her partner, Colin Jost. Rosemary Donahue, Allure, "Scarlett Johansson Showed Off Her Huge Back Tattoo at the Avengers: Infinity War Premiere," 25 Apr. 2018 Ford pointed to where the dark wood of a beam peeked through the paint. Hayley Krischer, The Seattle Times, "Exploring the many shades of white — and they’re all right," 10 Sep. 2018 There were high-tech touches, too: Rooms have floor-to-ceiling seamless blackout curtains that fit in a track inside the window, so not a sliver of sunlight will peek through. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside the Game-Changing New TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport," 17 Apr. 2018 That was down from the 812-yard, 125-attempt sophomore season that saw him peek in the postseason. Michael Casagrande,, "Bo Scarbrough is 11th Alabama player drafted," 28 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Just take a peek at Tuesday’s boxscores to see the impact. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "On Basketball: International stars leaving mark on NBA," 2 Jan. 2019 Take a peek into other people's routines by answering the poll questions below, and find out whether your habits come up to snuff per health and cleaning experts. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: How Normal Are Your Hygiene Habits?," 25 July 2018 Some players were tempted to take a peek at the dugout and expanded batting cages after returning Sunday night from Miller Park. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs brace for frigid conditions at Wrigley Field," 8 Apr. 2018 So last summer, museum archaeologists took a peek inside. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Mummy Found Inside 2,500-Year-Old ‘Empty’ Coffin," 29 Mar. 2018 The Saints, though, will have crossed the country to take a peek at a few passers. Larry Holder,, "For Sean Payton, 1 question about ageless Drew Brees never changes," 27 Mar. 2018 Fortunately, there are several opportunities to take a peek at — and even pet in some cases — new animal babies without disrupting nature's balance. Paige Fumo Fox, Daily Southtown, "Need a cuteness fix? Where to spy, sometimes pet, baby animals," 26 Mar. 2018 The trial of Paul Manafort in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation offered a rare peek inside the wardrobe of Trump’s disgraced former campaign chair. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "11 pieces of clothing that explain 2018," 20 Dec. 2018 Fils-Aime offered a peek at his first-blush experience with the Switch, which actually came from holding a basic, plastic shell. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nintendo president: “I compete for time,” not against Xbox, PlayStation," 3 Oct. 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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Learn More about peek

Dictionary Entries near peek


Pee Dee

peegee hydrangea





Statistics for peek

Last Updated

13 Jan 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 \
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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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