- to move in a prone position with the body resting on or close to the ground, as a worm or caterpillar, or on the hands and knees, as a young child.
- (of plants or vines) to extend tendrils; creep.
- to move or progress slowly or laboriously: The line of cars crawled behind the slow-moving truck. The work just crawled until we got the new machines.
- to behave in a remorseful, abject, or cringing manner: Don't come crawling back to me asking for favors.
- to be, or feel as if, overrun with crawling things: The hut crawled with lizards and insects.
- Ceramics. (of a glaze) to spread unevenly over the surface of a piece.
- (of paint) to raise or contract because of an imperfect bond with the underlying surface.
- to visit or frequent a series of (especially bars): to crawl the neighborhood pubs.
- Also spider. Digital Technology. to retrieve (data) from a website using a computer program, as in order to index web pages for a search engine: Search engines are constantly crawling the web.
- act of crawling; a slow, crawling motion.
- a slow pace or rate of progress: Traffic slowed to a crawl.
- Swimming. a stroke in a prone position, characterized by alternate overarm movements combined with the flutter kick.
- Television, Movies. titles that slowly move across a screen, providing information.
Origin of crawl1
- an enclosure in shallow water on the seacoast, as for confining fish, turtles, etc.: a crab crawl.
Origin of crawl2
Examples from the Web for crawl
“Now get on your knees and crawl,” he demanded with the slap of a leather horse crop against the palm of his hand.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
Klain is not the first to crawl out of the swamp of Biden World on to the larger stage.Where There’s Trouble, You’ll Usually Find Joe Biden
October 21, 2014
Social media is heavily censored, with Instagram blocked and access to various websites operating at a crawl.Occupy Hong Kong Hangs On
September 30, 2014
John Huston recalls in his autobiography, An Open Book, a time when he asked Mitchum to crawl across the grass on his elbows.The Stacks: Mr. Bad Taste and Trouble Himself: Robert Mitchum
July 19, 2014
In the 20th century, we learned that we could crawl inside of a photograph and find ourselves.New Getty Retrospective On Minor White’s Metamorphosing Camera
Sarah Bay Williams
July 10, 2014
We can only crawl along, having to walk and lead the horses, or at least drag them.Explorations in Australia
"And so belabored as to be scarce able to crawl along it," cried a third.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
I asked him to crawl aft, out of the water; which he did, lying down in the stern-sheets.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Injured men, shot from their saddles, were seeking to crawl out of the way.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
He had the crawl of the reptile,—he had, also, its poison and its fangs.Leila, Complete
- to move slowly, either by dragging the body along the ground or on the hands and knees
- to proceed or move along very slowly or laboriouslythe traffic crawled along the road
- to act or behave in a servile manner; fawn; cringe
- to be or feel as if overrun by something unpleasant, esp crawling creaturesthe pile of refuse crawled with insects
- (of insects, worms, snakes, etc) to move with the body close to the ground
- to swim the crawl
- a slow creeping pace or motion
- Also called: Australian crawl, front crawl swimming a stroke in which the feet are kicked like paddles while the arms reach forward and pull back through the water
- an enclosure in shallow, coastal water for fish, lobsters, etc
Word Origin and History for crawl
c.1200, creulen, from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse krafla "to claw (one's way)," from the same root as crab (n.1). If there was an Old English *craflian, it has not been recorded. Related: Crawled; crawling.
1818, from crawl (v.); in the swimming sense from 1903, the stroke developed by Frederick Cavill, well-known English swimmer who emigrated to Australia and modified the standard stroke of the day after observing South Seas islanders. So called because the swimmer's motion in the water resembles crawling.