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

Synonyms & Antonyms for peek

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Macau, two Chinese restaurants also took the top honors: Five Foot Road, which focuses on flavorful Sichuan cuisine, and Imperial Court, which offers a modern take on Cantonese fare (be sure to peek at the dining room’s dragon column). Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Whether in the lobby, amenity spaces or certain units, residents are able to peek at the past via these 19th-century design elements. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 25 Mar. 2022 One good way to gauge a track's possible inclusion is to peek at Mario Kart Tour's available tracks, which also crib heavily from the series' past. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 18 Mar. 2022 The polyester/spandex blend is stretchy and comfortable, and the slit at the flare is just enough to let your favorite pair of shiny boots peek out from underneath. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 28 Apr. 2022 Three flecks of garish pink punctuate a photo of a woman’s back: a bundle of cockscomb blooms, satin ribbons twisted into her braids, tassels that peek out from under her blouse. The New Yorker, 30 Mar. 2022 The whole look is basically an ode to Y2K as her top has an asymmetrical hem and untied string detail on the side where her hips peek out. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 18 Mar. 2022 The beige underwear was part of the look; its top band was meant to peek out from the waist of the skirt, adding about an inch to the overall look. Jessica Testa, New York Times, 10 Mar. 2022 Then, to trap the steam, drape the towel over your whole head and let your face peek out so the hot water can reach your skin. Mara Santilli, SELF, 28 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Before a job recruiter gets a peek at a résumé these days, an AI tool may likely judge it first. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, 16 May 2022 The organization is holding its annual event (on Zoom again this year) at 9 a.m., but here’s a sneak peek at some of the most significant findings. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2022 The high fence is wrapped in blue, so creativity was the key for the couple dozen kids who wanted to sneak a peek Thursday night at Oswego East’s Noah Schultz. Paul Johnson, Chicago Tribune, 13 May 2022 Multiplayer mode is currently broken, but here's a peek at how its menus may have looked. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 12 May 2022 Investors rubbernecking at the fiery crash of Netflix’s stock price might want to take a quick peek under the hood of its chief streaming rival, Disney. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 12 May 2022 In an exclusive sneak peek at the finale, Jasmina expresses her worries about staying married to Michael after a tumultuous season 'Til death? Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 11 May 2022 In her latest Instagram post, the pop star shows a peek of an important wedding accessory while also introducing her new furry friend. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 May 2022 The first stop of that tour was an exclusive sneak peek at Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, a film that Chambers said has already earned $42 million in advance ticket sales ahead of its May 6 bow. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for peek

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near peek

peegee hydrangea

peek

peekaboo

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Statistics for peek

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Peek.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peek. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for peek

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

More from Merriam-Webster on peek

Nglish: Translation of peek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peek for Arabic Speakers

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