[ krawl ]
/ krɔl /
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See synonyms for: crawl / crawling on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
to visit or frequent a series of (similar businesses, especially bars): to crawl the neighborhood pubs.
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).
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

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.


crawl·ing·ly, adverb


craw, crawl

Other definitions for crawl (2 of 2)

[ krawl ]
/ krɔl /

noun Chiefly South Atlantic States.
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


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.

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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!

How to use crawl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crawl (1 of 2)

/ (krɔːl) /

verb (intr)
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

Derived forms of crawl

crawlingly, adverb

Word Origin for crawl

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

British Dictionary definitions for crawl (2 of 2)

/ (krɔːl) /

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

Word Origin for 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