\ 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

His gloved hands clutched an umbrella topped with a gold dragon’s head and floral socks peeked out of tasseled loafers. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Inside the Bizarre Life of a Male Street-Style Star," 14 Jan. 2019 Well, perhaps peeking inside the White House to see how the most iconic residence in the United States is celebrating the winter festivities. Carson Blackwelder, Country Living, "Your Guide to the Best Christmas Movies to Watch on TV This Holiday Season," 18 Nov. 2018 The skirt featured a high-slit that hit just below her left thigh, which allowed for her sky-high stilettos to peek out. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Halsey Wore White Feather Eyebrows on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 Runway," 9 Nov. 2018 The station also showed the woman peeking out of her balcony door and smoking a cigarette. Fox News, "The Latest: Shots fired at California senior complex," 14 Sep. 2018 Assorted Surprises While the iPhones and the Apple Watch are the main course for September 12, a few other gadgets that could peek out to say hello. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "What to Expect From Apple's 2018 iPhone Event," 5 Sep. 2018 For its spring 2018 show, Eckhaus Latta cast artist Maia Ruth, who was eight months pregnant, styling her with several undone buttons so as to let her baby bump peek out. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Model Mara Martin Walked the 2018 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Show While Breastfeeding," 16 July 2018 In an Instagram carousel of 3 moody, black-and-white images, Selena is seen peeking over her shoulder in white top, looking through a magnifying glass, and lying on a bed half covered in shadow. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Breaks Her Silence To Thank Fans on Instagram After Year Of "Challenges"," 14 Jan. 2019 And peeking beneath the perennially stylish hat was Shayk's newly cropped, neck-grazing cut that alongside a face of neutral makeup, save for a dab of pink lip gloss, gave her a cool, downtown edge worthy of a model off-duty. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Irina Shayk Elevates Her New Bob With This French Girl Beauty Signature," 9 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Take a peek at, and see them in the store (207 E. Buffalo St.) for the first time Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m. 7. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "14 things to do on Milwaukee Day 2018," 12 Apr. 2018 Finally, from the edge of Yavapai Point, Templin got a peek of the river. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Lees Ferry: Gateway to Grand Canyon rafting and the Colorado River," 9 July 2018 Visitors to the mall will see a sneak peek of Toy Story Land concept art and be able to hop into an interactive photo booth, according to BoxLunch. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Toy Story Land mall tour to make stop at Orland Square in Orland Park," 15 June 2018 On Tuesday, Dew and her children, along with others, were invited to a sneak peek of the result of those fundraisers: a shining new $2.4 million NICU, built a floor beneath the original one where Dew had Preston. Libby Solomon,, "Comfort and kangaroo care in GBMC's renovated NICU," 13 June 2018 His son, D’Anton, an assistant DBs coach for the Texans, FaceTimes from Houston, eager for a peek at dad in his graduation garb. Jenny Vrentas,, "Anthony Lynn Gets his Degree for his Players, for his Family and for Himself," 15 May 2018 Southern Miss safety Tarvarius Moore or Virginia Tech's Terrell Edmunds might be worth a peek in the third or fourth round. Larry Holder,, "Secondary shouldn't be a Saints afterthought in this weekend's NFL Draft," 24 Apr. 2018 Jamie Lee Curtis has even given fans a sneak peek of herself in costume as Laurie. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Jamie Lee Curtis Is Returning As Laurie Strode For One Last 'Halloween' Movie," 31 Jan. 2018 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

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

10 Feb 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).


excited commotion or publicity

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