verb (used without object), crept, creep·ing.
- to flirt with or make persistent sexual advances toward someone (often followed by on): He creeps on all the women he meets.
- to cheat on one’s sexual partner: He caught his wife creepin' with the guy who lives next-door.
verb (used with object), crept, creep·ing.
- the gradual movement downhill of loose soil, rock, gravel, etc.; solifluction.
- the slow deformation of solid rock resulting from constant stress applied over long periods.
Idioms for creep
Origin of creep
synonym study for creep
historical usage of creep
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.”
OTHER WORDS FROM creepcreep·ing·ly, adverbnon·creep·ing, adjectiveout·creep, verb (used with object), out·crept, out·creep·ing.un·creep·ing, adjective
Words nearby creep
British Dictionary definitions for creep up on
verb creeps, creeping or crept (intr)
Word Origin for creep
Idioms and Phrases with creep up on (1 of 2)
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)
In addition to the idiom beginning with creep
- creep up on
- make one's flesh creep
- the creeps