[ kreep ]
/ krip /

verb (used without object), crept, creep·ing.

verb (used with object), crept, creep·ing.

Slang. to follow persistently or stealthily, especially online: I’ve been creeping her blog and found some great recipes.
Archaic. to creep along or over.



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Idioms for creep

    make one's flesh creep, to be frightening or repellent; cause one to experience uneasiness: The eerie stories made our flesh creep.

Origin of creep

before 900; Middle English crepen, Old English crēopan; cognate with Dutch kruipen, Old Norse krjūpa


synonym study for creep

1. See crawl1.

historical usage of creep

The verb creep comes from Old English crēopan, a strong verb (that is, a verb from a root that has vowel changes in its inflectional forms, as sing, sang, sung ).
The four principal parts of crēopan are crēopan (present infinitive and the dictionary headword), crēap (past tense singular), crupon (past tense plural), and cropen (past participle). The verb has very many bewildering dialect forms, variants, and spellings in Old English and later in Middle English.
Around 1300 we see the first appearance of inflections of weak verbs (also called regular verbs, with no vowel changes), like love, loved, loved, initially in the past tense. William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible (1534) has the past participle crept, replacing the strong form cropen. Some descendants of the Old English strong verb lived on in certain British and American dialects, such as the past tense crope, which shows up in the speech of runaway slave Jim in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884): “I crope out, all a-tremblin’.”
The slang meaning of the noun “an obnoxious, disturbingly eccentric person” arose in the late 19th century, connected with the now obsolete meaning “a person who creeps along; a sneak.”


creep·ing·ly, adverbnon·creep·ing, adjectiveout·creep, verb (used with object), out·crept, out·creep·ing.un·creep·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for creep up on

/ (kriːp) /

verb creeps, creeping or crept (intr)


See also creeps

Word Origin for creep

Old English crēopan; related to Old Frisian kriāpa, Old Norse krjūpa, Middle Low German krūpen
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

Idioms and Phrases with creep up on (1 of 2)

creep up on

Advance slowly or stealthily, as in The cat crept up on the bird, or Autumn is creeping up on us. This expression is recorded in slightly different form— creep in or creep on—from the 15th century on. One of the Hymns to the Virgin and Christ (c. 1430) has “Now age has cropen [crept] up on me ful stille.”

Idioms and Phrases with creep up on (2 of 2)


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.