\ 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 outpeeked 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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In September, Thompson left a flirtatious message on a picture of Kardashian peeking out of the corner of the frame with the sun shining behind her. Ashley Boucher,, "Tristan Thompson Calls Khloé Kardashian 'Perfection' on Her Latest Instagram Post," 27 Nov. 2019 Rocks peek up out of the thin layer of green, peppered with impossible fungi and bits of trash. Wired, "Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding Is Beautiful, Smart—and Kinda Boring," 7 Nov. 2019 The book is comprised of 30 flaps designed to make it through hours of a child’s lifts and peeks, with surprises in each flap. Gideon Grudo, NBC News, "5 'Sesame Street' kids books to help with life's biggest moments," 26 Oct. 2019 Initially Billy Porter was camera shy, peeking out of the door behind the scenes at The Blonds runway show. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "5 Interesting Things You Missed At NYFW Day 5," 10 Sep. 2019 The doors open and the FAES officers brandish their weapons, there’s chaos, two shots go off, and then there is an odd silence before I’m allowed to peek out of the car window. Annika Hernroth-rothstein, National Review, "I Was Kidnapped in Venezuela," 7 June 2019 David Oh is an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a 177-acre campus of white buildings that peeks up out of the Angeles National Forest near Pasadena like a fleet of galleons hidden in the hills. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: NASA's Crazy, Kooky, Legendary Research Facility," 3 Nov. 2016 The exploit allowing people to bypass restrictions Apple puts into the mobile operating system allows hobbyists and researchers to customize their devices and gain valuable insights that may be peeking under the covers. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Developer of Checkm8 explains why iDevice jailbreak exploit is a game changer," 28 Sep. 2019 The hair that peeks out from under the hood is split and uneven. NBC News, "Made in Cambodia: How women in poverty are supplying America's market for hair," 21 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The retailer is also offering a sneak peek at exciting, upcoming deals. Staff, CNN Underscored, "Black Friday 2019: All the best deals you can shop today," 29 Nov. 2019 The Sun Sentinel got an exclusive sneak peek at BrandsMart USA’s 12-page Black Friday ad and it’s bursting with doorbuster deals. Doreen Christensen,, "Black Friday exclusive: BrandsMart to sell Samsung HDTVs for $88 | See all the deals," 16 Nov. 2019 Get a sneak peek at what to expect and why this role is so special to Mackenzie in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video. Martha Sorren, Woman's Day, "'Dance Moms' Star Mackenzie Ziegler Is Starring In A Major New Movie," 12 Nov. 2019 Amidst a Beethoven-centric year, however, CSO music director Riccardo Muti offers a peek at some of the successors who carried the torch of Romanticism forward: Wagner, Brahms and Schumann, for example. Lauren Warnecke,, "CSO review: Tucked among Beethoven celebrations, Muti offers a peek at successors Wagner, Brahms and Schumann," 10 Nov. 2019 And while Harry & Meghan: An African Journey won't air on the U.S. until Wednesday, stateside viewers are getting a sneak peek at the documentary through a series of previews released online. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Opens Up About His Relationship with Prince William, and Says They're on "Different Paths"," 21 Oct. 2019 Despite a Friday night kickoff against Colorado this week, Oregon is set to host a collection of elite prospects and fans have already gotten a sneak peek at the headliner. Andrew Nemec | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Kelee Ringo, 5-star cornerback, visiting Oregon Ducks this weekend," 9 Oct. 2019 Guests also got a sneak peek at the new axe throwing area, which will debut soon. Quoron Walker,, "Team Building At Nomads," 26 Sep. 2019 Main Street Medina Facebook fans will get a sneak peek at the guide map and specials that morning. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "The place is really jumping these days: Whit & Whimsey," 20 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for peek

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for peek

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Peek.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for peek


How to pronounce peek (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peek

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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 state or do over again or repeatedly

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