View synonyms for crawl



[ krawl ]

verb (used without object)

  1. 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.
  2. (of plants or vines) to extend tendrils; creep.
  3. 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.

  4. to behave in a remorseful, abject, or cringing manner:

    Don't come crawling back to me asking for favors.

  5. to be, or feel as if, overrun with crawling things:

    The hut crawled with lizards and insects.

  6. Ceramics. (of a glaze) to spread unevenly over the surface of a piece.
  7. (of paint) to raise or contract because of an imperfect bond with the underlying surface.

verb (used with object)

  1. to visit or frequent a series of (similar businesses, especially bars):

    to crawl the neighborhood pubs.

  2. Digital Technology. to digitally survey (websites) using a computer program, as in order to index web pages for a search engine: Compare spider ( def 10 ).

    Search engines are constantly crawling the web.


  1. the act of crawling; a slow, crawling motion.
  2. the visiting of a series of similar businesses, especially bars:

    a beer crawl;

    a museum crawl.

  3. a slow pace or rate of progress:

    Traffic slowed to a crawl.

  4. Swimming. a stroke in a prone position, characterized by alternate overarm movements combined with the flutter kick.
  5. Television, Movies. titles that slowly move across a screen, providing information.



[ krawl ]


, Chiefly South Atlantic States.
  1. an enclosure in shallow water on the seacoast, as for confining fish, turtles, etc.:

    a crab crawl.



/ krɔːl /


  1. to move slowly, either by dragging the body along the ground or on the hands and knees
  2. to proceed or move along very slowly or laboriously

    the traffic crawled along the road

  3. to act or behave in a servile manner; fawn; cringe
  4. to be or feel as if overrun by something unpleasant, esp crawling creatures

    the pile of refuse crawled with insects

  5. (of insects, worms, snakes, etc) to move with the body close to the ground
  6. to swim the crawl


  1. a slow creeping pace or motion
  2. Also calledAustralian crawlfront crawl swimming a stroke in which the feet are kicked like paddles while the arms reach forward and pull back through the water



/ krɔːl /


  1. an enclosure in shallow, coastal water for fish, lobsters, etc

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Derived Forms

  • ˈcrawlingly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • crawling·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of crawl1

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English craulen, crallen, from Old Norse krafla; compare Danish kravle “to crawl, creep”

Origin of crawl2

First recorded in 1650–60; from Dutch kraal, from Spanish corral corral; kraal

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Word History and Origins

Origin of crawl1

C14: probably from Old Norse krafla to creep; compare Swedish kravla, Middle Low German krabbelen to crawl, Old Norse krabbi crab 1

Origin of crawl2

C17: from Dutch kraal kraal

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Synonym Study

Crawl, creep refer to methods of moving like reptiles or worms, or on all fours. They are frequently interchangeable, but crawl is used of a more prostrate movement than creep : A dog afraid of punishment crawls toward his master. Creep expresses slow progress: A child creeps before walking or running.

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Example Sentences

Efficiency of crawl, as we mentioned above, are the benefits.

The data we gather in TGIF show that in many cases, those solutions often do more harm than good as they are not getting indexed and they make it very difficult to get crawl data that actually reflects your website’s structure as Google sees it.

However, for larger sites, having multiple URLs that host the same content may consume crawl budget and dilute signals, inhibiting a search engine’s ability to index and evaluate your pages.

Although most people might have heard of crawl budgeting, they might have considered using it, to begin with, or even think about it, when it comes to SEO.

However, the number of pages your domain accommodates should never exceed your crawl budget, or else all pages over that limit will go unnoticed in search.

“Now get on your knees and crawl,” he demanded with the slap of a leather horse crop against the palm of his hand.

Klain is not the first to crawl out of the swamp of Biden World on to the larger stage.

Social media is heavily censored, with Instagram blocked and access to various websites operating at a crawl.

But as the opening crawl assures, “none of this is canon, so just relax.”

John Huston recalls in his autobiography, An Open Book, a time when he asked Mitchum to crawl across the grass on his elbows.

He felt himself the meanest, vilest thing a-crawl upon this sinful earth, and she—dear God!

Crawl up there again, Sarge, and look straight down at the first ledge from the bottom.

In a moment it began to crawl down the side of the street, seeming to fill the whole city with silence.

In the first place, as to hours—they never leave the ball-room until utterly exhausted, and scarcely fit to crawl to bed.

Bud slid noiselessly out of the car and under it, head to the rear where he could crawl out quickly.


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More About Crawl

What does crawl mean?

To crawl is to move along, close to the ground, either by wriggling the body or using hands and knees, as in The baby crawled along the floor on her hands and knees.

Many types of animals crawl along the ground, such as worms, caterpillars, and snakes

To crawl also means to creep or to extend tendrils, like a vine up a ladder.

More generally, to crawl means to move slowly or with a lot of effort, as in School was so boring today that the time just crawled along.

To crawl also means to visit a series of similar businesses, most commonly bars or pubs. A pub crawl is an event during which participants will visit several pubs, one after another.

Example: The traffic slowed to a crawl on my way home from work because of an accident.

Where does crawl come from?

The first records of the term crawl come from the mid-1100s. It ultimately comes from the Old Norse krafla.

As crawling usually goes slowly, the term crawl can be applied to anything that moves slowly. Crawl is also often used in cases of regret when people are said to crawl back to where they came from. When a location is said to be crawling with something, that means that there are a lot of them there, usually referring to animals or insects. On the internet, to crawl is to digitally survey websites in order to index them for a search engine.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to crawl?

  • crawlingly (adverb)
  • crawler (noun)

What are some synonyms for crawl?

What are some words that share a root or word element with crawl

What are some words that often get used in discussing crawl?

How is crawl used in real life?

Crawl is a common word used to mean to move in a prone position close to the ground.



Try using crawl!

Is crawl used correctly in the following sentence?

When we did the dessert crawl, we visited a dozen bakeries in one afternoon!