\ 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 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 The plan calls for razing the existing museum structure and replacing it with a series of four stacked, overlapping plates surrounding a glassy box that peeks over the mound. Los Angeles Times, "Three design teams propose La Brea Tar Pits revamp. The mammoth’s future? Uncertain," 26 Aug. 2019 Then, add a low-heel pump in a bright color that peeks out from under the hem. Tyler Joe, Marie Claire, "How to Style Trouser Jeans," 12 Aug. 2019 But signs of the old town remain -- a bit of gymnasium floor from what was the school; the lip of a paved driveway that peeks out from under the grass. Stephanie Elam, CNN, "A flood forced this town to move. It could be a model for others hit by the climate crisis," 17 July 2019 Dear Judy: Colored socks, the ankle ones that just peek out at the edge of your shoes, would be the all purpose answer to your quandary. Ellen Warren,, "Black, white, neon? Colorful sneakers create a sock dilemma," 1 July 2019 For years, she's seen her phone ring off the hook after her interiors appeared in magazines, as readers called to ask where to buy every feature in the room, from the curtains to a vase that's barely peeking out from the edge of a photo. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Get Designers' Most Iconic Looks in Your Own Home," 14 Mar. 2019 In his fifth act, Wolfe became a novelist, aiming—in the tradition of Balzac, Zola and Dickens—to write narratively propulsive works that peeked into all layers of society. Ben Yagoda, WSJ, "An Appreciation: Tom Wolfe," 18 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Teaming up with stylist Jonathan Wright, the star gave Instagram followers a peek at her temporary time as a redhead. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Jordyn Woods Wore a Bright Red Wig," 12 Nov. 2019 Telescopes and even binoculars will give observers a good peek at the four largest moons of the giant world and the colorful bands that stripe its atmosphere. Arnold Pearlstein,, "The Stars This Week: Oct. 27-Nov. 2," 27 Oct. 2019 Reporter Hannah Drown will broadcast live video on’s Facebook page Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. to give readers a sneak peek and to get more details. Hannah Drown, cleveland, "Video: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo debuts new Wild Winter Lights holiday event," 22 Oct. 2019 During the tour, Kylie decided to give fans a peek at her daughter, Stormi Webster's, room at Kylie Cosmetics HQ (because, naturally, Stormi has her own room at her mom's corporate headquarters). Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner's Daughter, Stormi, Thinks "Rise and Shine" Is a Travis Scott Song," 20 Oct. 2019 Netflix earlier gave a sneak peek at its first animated holiday film, Klaus, which bows Nov. 17 and is voiced by Schwartzman, Rashida Jones and J.K. Simmons. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix Christmas Movie Slate Gets Premiere Dates," 15 Oct. 2019 The upcoming 2021 Mirai While Toyota has given us a sneak peek at the new Mirai, the automaker is shy on some meaningful engineering points on the car. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The 2021 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car has more luxury, less ugly," 10 Oct. 2019 Rip City was given a sneak peek of their new-look Portland Trail Blazers Sunday evening, when the team held its annual Fan Fest scrimmage at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Kent Bazemore is fun, Mario Hezonja is a 'devil,’ frontcourt injuries: Portland Trail Blazers fan fest," 7 Oct. 2019 Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star are reuniting for a new video series, The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star, and the trailer has officially dropped giving viewers a sneak peek. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Shane Dawson Watches James Charles’ Follower Count Drop in New Jeffree Star Video Trailer," 25 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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Statistics for peek

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for peek

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

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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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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