\ ˈsēp How to pronounce seep (audio) \
seeped; seeping; seeps

Definition of seep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to flow or pass slowly through fine pores or small openings : ooze water seeped in through a crack
2a : to enter or penetrate slowly fear of nuclear war had seeped into the national consciousness— Tip O'Neill
b : to become diffused or spread a sadness seeped through his being— Agnes S. Turnbull



Definition of seep (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a spot where a fluid (such as water, oil, or gas) contained in the ground oozes slowly to the surface and often forms a pool
b : a small spring

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Other Words from seep


seepy \ ˈsē-​pē How to pronounce seepy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of seep in a Sentence

Verb Blood was seeping through the bandage. The chemicals seeped into the ground.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The affordable blackout curtains have a unique triple weave technology that’s woven with a black yarn layer to prevent light from seeping into your bedroom. Braelyn Wood,, "These Are the Best Insulated Blackout Curtains to Improve Your Sleep Quality," 6 Nov. 2019 But over the years, Pedro Bay villagers grew suspicious of the project, which would rely on giant earthen dams to keep hazardous mine tailings from seeping or surging into rivers flowing into the lake. Los Angeles Times, "‘This is our land’: How a tiny Alaskan village stymied Pebble Mine," 23 Oct. 2019 One version is lined with a thin film of recycled PET plastic to keep beer from seeping out. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Vegan bacon cheeseburgers, paper beer bottles and this week's other food news," 12 Oct. 2019 If the floor is concrete, the installer will install a vapor barrier to prevent any moisture from seeping up. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "How Much Does It Cost To Install Carpet?," 23 Sep. 2019 In management alerts issued Friday, Metro Inspector General Geoffrey A. Cherrington said a sealant being applied to prevent water from seeping into hundreds of defective concrete panels may not be working. Washington Post, "Metro’s IG finds new problems with Silver Line construction," 7 Sep. 2019 This little tin, complete with a firmly sealing rubber edge that prevents any soap residue from seeping out, isn’t just for Irish Spring. Lauren Joseph, Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Reusable Travel Bottles for All Your Creams, Soaps, and Serums," 19 Aug. 2019 Both experts extol the virtues of moisturizers with exfoliants like urea (not urine, but a similar compound that has been shown to help moisture seep into skin), and salicylic acid, to help prevent heel cracks with regular use. NBC News, "How to care for dry, cracked heels, according to dermatologists," 14 Nov. 2019 Decades of high nuclear gamesmanship then left the reach with 53 million gallons of radioactive waste, which, over time, seeped out of the storage tanks at the facility and contaminated 100 square miles of groundwater. Patrick Symmes, Harper's magazine, "The $68,000 Fish," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The state previously issued the oil giant a notice of violation ordering it to stop steam injections around the area where the seep was occurring. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California fines Chevron over Kern County oil leaks," 2 Oct. 2019 The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua. Washington Post, "Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil, water in California," 12 July 2019 An ancient tar seep in the middle of modern-day Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits trapped all sorts of animals over the past 50,000 years. Stephanie De Marco, Los Angeles Times, "Bones pulled from the La Brea Tar Pits show the perils of being a picky eater," 26 Aug. 2019 The idea here was to do something like locate a shipwreck or a natural methane seep. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "XPRIZE selects winners of autonomous seafloor-mapping competition," 1 June 2019 How rainfall and groundwater seep in can also build up pressure and lead to cracks and collapses. Rosanna Xiastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "A cliff collapse. Three deaths. More bluff failures expected with rising seas," 9 Aug. 2019 The springs range in flow from steady trickles that drain into green seeps to icy founts that gush from solid rock, carving gullies and fostering thick forests. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Forest hike near Payson leads to a shady tangle of springs," 26 July 2019 The seep occurred in an oil field where Chevron uses a process called steam injection to extract underground crude oil. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "A major Kern County oil spill in environmentally conscious California," 17 July 2019 The seep out of the ground where Chevron injects steam to extract oil has been happening on and off since May. The state has issued Chevron a notice of violation ordering it to stop steam injections around the area where the seep was occurring. USA TODAY, "Penal farm to produce farm, music under the sea: News from around our 50 states," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seep.' 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 seep


1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for seep


alteration of earlier sipe, from Middle English sipen, from Old English sipian; akin to Middle Low German sipen to seep

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Statistics for seep

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Seep.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for seep


How to pronounce seep (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of seep

: to flow or pass slowly through small openings in something


\ ˈsēp How to pronounce seep (audio) \
seeped; seeping

Kids Definition of seep

: to flow slowly through small openings Water seeped into the basement.

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More from Merriam-Webster on seep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with seep

Spanish Central: Translation of seep

Nglish: Translation of seep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seep for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about seep

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