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creep definition


This page has 20 definitions of creep in English. Creep is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use creep in a sentence are shown. Also define these 29 related words and terms: abdomen, crawl, plant, Strasbourg, slip, displaced, servility, exaggerate, humility, fawn, creeper, have sex, cheat, publishing, page, quire, materials science, strain, flow, deformation, stress, geology, imperceptible, downslope, rock, derogatory, weirdo, chills, and agriculture.

See also: CREEP



From Middle English crepen, from Old English crēopan (to creep, crawl), from Proto-West Germanic *kreupan, from Proto-Germanic *kreupaną (to twist, creep), from Proto-Indo-European *gerb- (to turn, wind). Cognate with West Frisian krippe, krûpe, West Frisian crjippa (to creep), Low German krepen and krupen, Dutch kruipen (to creep, crawl), Middle High German kriefen (to creep), Danish krybe (to creep), Norwegian krype (to creep), Swedish krypa (to creep, crawl), Icelandic krjúpa (to stoop).

The noun is derived from the verb.



creep (third-person singular simple present creeps, present participle creeping, simple past crept or creeped or (obsolete) crope, past participle crept or creeped or (archaic) cropen)

  1. (intransitive) To move slowly with the abdomen close to the ground.
    Lizards and snakes crept over the ground.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit:
      One evening, while the Rabbit was lying there alone, watching the ants that ran to and fro between his velvet paws in the grass, he saw two strange beings creep out of the tall bracken near him.
    Synonym: crawl
  2. (intransitive) Of plants, to grow across a surface rather than upwards.
    • Plant definition
      An organism that is not an animal, especially an organism capable of photosynthesis. Typically a small or herbaceous organism of this kind, rather than a tree. (1 of 15 plant definitions)
  3. (intransitive) To move slowly and quietly in a particular direction.
    He tried to creep past the guard without being seen.
    • 1961 November, “More accelerations in the French winter timetables”, in Trains Illustrated, page 670:
      Electrification of the Eastern Region main line from Strasbourg, incidentally, is steadily creeping nearer to Paris, and is now complete as far as Château Thierry, 59 miles away; [...].
    • 1967, Sleigh, Barbara, Jessamy, 1993 edition, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, →ISBN, page 84:
      She crept up the stairs, keeping well into the side because she knew they were less likely to creak this way.
  4. (intransitive) To make small gradual changes, usually in a particular direction.
    Prices have been creeping up all year.
  5. To move in a stealthy or secret manner; to move imperceptibly or clandestinely; to steal in; to insinuate itself or oneself.
    Old age creeps upon us.
    • 1706, John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding[1], Fallacies:
      [] guard his understanding from being imposed on by the willful or at least undesigned sophistry which creeps into most of the books of argument.
  6. To slip, or to become slightly displaced.
    The collodion on a negative, or a coat of varnish, may creep in drying.
    The quicksilver on a mirror may creep.
    • Displaced definition
      simple past tense and past participle of displace
  7. To move or behave with servility or exaggerated humility; to fawn.
    A creeping sycophant.
    • Servility definition
      The condition of being servile.
    • Humility definition
      The characteristic of being humble; humbleness in character and behavior.
  8. To have a sensation as of insects creeping on the skin of the body; to crawl.
    The sight made my flesh creep.
  9. To drag in deep water with creepers, as for recovering a submarine cable.
  10. (intransitive, African-American Vernacular, slang) To covertly have sex (with a person other than one's primary partner); to cheat with.
    • 2000, “It Wasn't Me”, performed by Shaggy:
      Honey came in and she caught me red-handed / Creeping with the girl next door / Picture this we were both butt naked / Banging on the bathroom floor
    • 2003, “I Don't Wanna Know”, performed by Mario Winans:
      I don't wanna know / If you're playin' me, keep it on the low / 'Cause my heart can't take it anymore / And if you're creepin', please don't let it show
    • 2016, Sherika Moore, Been Hustlen, →ISBN:
      "Now you want the nigga out 'cause he creeping with his baby momma."

Derived terms



creep (countable and uncountable, plural creeps)

  1. The movement of something that creeps (like worms or snails)
  2. A relatively small gradual change, variation or deviation (from a planned value) in a measure.
  3. A slight displacement of an object: the slight movement of something
  4. (uncountable) The gradual expansion or proliferation of something beyond its original goals or boundaries, considered negatively.
    christmas creep
    feature creep
    instruction creep
    mission creep
  5. (publishing) In sewn books, the tendency of pages on the inside of a quire to stand out farther than those on the outside of it.
    • Quire definition
      One-twentieth of a ream of paper; a collection of twenty-four or twenty-five sheets of paper of the same size and quality, unfolded or having a single fold. (1 of 3 quire definitions)
  6. (materials science) An increase in strain with time; the gradual flow or deformation of a material under stress.
    • Flow definition
      A movement in people or things with a particular way in large numbers or amounts (1 of 11 flow definitions)
    • Stress definition
      A physical, chemical, infective agent aggressing an organism. (1 of 10 stress definitions)
  7. (geology) The imperceptible downslope movement of surface rock.
    • Geology definition
      The science that studies the structure of the earth (or other planets), together with its origin and development, especially by examination of its rocks. (1 of 2 geology definitions)
    • Downslope definition
      in a direction down a slope
  8. (informal, derogatory) Someone unpleasantly strange or eccentric.
    Synonym: weirdo
    • 1992, “Creep”, in Pablo Honey, performed by Radiohead:
      But I'm a creep / I'm a weirdo / What the hell am I doing here? / I don't belong here
  9. (informal, derogatory) A frightening and/or disconcerting person, especially one who gives the speaker chills.
    Stop following me, you creep!
  10. (agriculture) A barrier with small openings used to keep large animals out while allowing smaller animals to pass through.

Derived terms