[ krawl ]
See synonyms for: crawlcrawling on

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.

  1. 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.

  2. to behave in a remorseful, abject, or cringing manner: Don't come crawling back to me asking for favors.

  3. to be, or feel as if, overrun with crawling things: The hut crawled with lizards and insects.

  4. Ceramics. (of a glaze) to spread unevenly over the surface of a piece.

  5. (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: Search engines are constantly crawling the web.: Compare spider (def. 10).

  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.

  1. a slow pace or rate of progress: Traffic slowed to a crawl.

  2. Swimming. a stroke in a prone position, characterized by alternate overarm movements combined with the flutter kick.

  3. Television, Movies. titles that slowly move across a screen, providing information.

Origin of crawl

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

synonym study For crawl

1. 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.

Other words from crawl

  • crawl·ing·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with crawl

Words Nearby crawl

Other definitions for crawl (2 of 2)

[ krawl ]

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

Origin of crawl

First recorded in 1650–60; from Dutch kraal, from Spanish corral corral; cf. kraal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use crawl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crawl (1 of 2)


/ (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

  1. to act or behave in a servile manner; fawn; cringe

  2. to be or feel as if overrun by something unpleasant, esp crawling creatures: the pile of refuse crawled with insects

  3. (of insects, worms, snakes, etc) to move with the body close to the ground

  4. to swim the crawl

  1. a slow creeping pace or motion

  2. 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

Origin of crawl

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

Derived forms of crawl

  • crawlingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for crawl (2 of 2)


/ (krɔːl) /

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

Origin of crawl

C17: from Dutch kraal kraal

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012