- Slang. the act or practice of following someone persistently or stealthily, especially online: Twitter and LinkedIn creeping is a normal part of my day.
- advancing or developing gradually so as to infringe on or supplant something else: creeping inflation; creeping socialism.
Origin of creeping
- to move slowly with the body close to the ground, as a reptile or an insect, or a person on hands and knees.
- to approach slowly, imperceptibly, or stealthily (often followed by up): We crept up and peeked over the wall.
- to move or advance slowly or gradually: The automobile crept up the hill. Time just seems to creep along on these hot summer days.
- to sneak up behind someone or without someone's knowledge (usually followed by up on): The prisoners crept up on the guard and knocked him out.
- to enter or become evident inconspicuously, gradually, or insidiously (often followed by in or into:) The writer's personal bias occasionally creeps into the account.
- to move or behave timidly or servilely.
- to grow along the ground, a wall, etc., as a plant.
- to advance or develop gradually so as to infringe on or supplant something else.
- 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.
- Slang. to follow someone persistently or stealthily, as on a social media website (often followed by on): He spends a lot of time creeping on her Facebook profile.
- Slang. to suddenly intrude into someone’s photograph as it is being taken: Who’s that creeping in the background of the picture?
- to slip, slide, or shift gradually; become displaced.
- (of a metal object) to become deformed, as under continuous loads or at high temperatures.
- Nautical. to grapple (usually followed by for): The ships crept for their anchor chains.
- 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.
- an act or instance of creeping: It seems as if time has slowed to a creep.
- Slang. an obnoxious, disturbingly eccentric, deviant, or painfully introverted person.
- Slang. an intelligence or counterintelligence agent; spy.
- Slang. creeper(def 10).
- a gradual or inconspicuous increase, advance, change, or development: Avoid jargon creep in your writing. We are seeing the steady creep of consumerism.
- 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.
- Mechanics. the gradual, permanent deformation of a body produced by a continued application of heat or stress.
- a grappling iron; grapnel.
- Firearms. the slack in a trigger mechanism before it releases the firing pin.
- creep feeder.
- the creeps, Informal. a sensation of horror, fear, disgust, etc., suggestive of the feeling induced by something crawling over the skin: That horror movie gave me the creeps.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for creep on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for creeping
There are some stats to explain why the age of nominees is creeping up.Why Does Oscar Hate Young Men?
November 9, 2014
She confessed to harboring a “creeping concern that [Edward Snowden] is not who he purports to be.”From ISIS to Ebola, What Has Made Naomi Wolf So Paranoid?
October 11, 2014
A creeping sense develops that Judy fled not just a stifling culture but a genuine existential threat.Book Bag: Gritty Stories From the Real Montana
Carrie La Seur
October 2, 2014
Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal.The Daily Beast's Best Longreads, Aug 24, 2014
The Daily Beast
August 24, 2014
What creeping advances the government has been able to make on some fronts are being matched by setbacks.Ukraine Rebels Boast About Troops and Tanks Coming from Russia
August 16, 2014
He shared it with bats and all sorts of creeping insects but this he did not mind.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
She was aware of the creeping fret, the poisons and obstructions of decay.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Inch by inch the brave son of Hanover was creeping up on Lauzanne.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
So fearless were they, that they made nothing of creeping in among the folds of his garments.Tanglewood Tales
The Southern sharpshooters, creeping from tree to tree, began to fire.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
- to crawl with the body near to or touching the ground
- to move slowly, quietly, or cautiously
- to act in a servile way; fawn; cringe
- to move or slip out of place, as from pressure or wear
- (of plants) to grow along the ground or over rocks, producing roots, suckers, or tendrils at intervals
- (of a body or substance) to become permanently deformed as a result of an applied stress, often when combined with heating
- to develop graduallycreeping unrest
- to have the sensation of something crawling over the skin
- (of metals) to undergo slow plastic deformation
- the act of creeping or a creeping movement
- slang a person considered to be obnoxious or servile
- the continuous permanent deformation of a body or substance as a result of stress or heat
- geology the gradual downwards movement of loose rock material, soil, etc, on a slope
- a slow relative movement of two adjacent parts, structural components, etc
- slow plastic deformation of metals
Word Origin and History for creeping
Old English creopan "to creep" (class II strong verb; past tense creap, past participle cropen), from Proto-Germanic *kreupanan (cf. Old Frisian kriapa, Middle Dutch crupen, Old Norse krjupa "to creep"), from PIE root *greug-. Related: Crept; creeping.
"a creeping motion," 1818, from creep (v.). Meaning "despicable person" is 1935, American English slang, perhaps from earlier sense of "sneak thief" (1914). Creeper "a gilded rascal" is recorded from c.1600, and the word also was used of certain classes of thieves, especially those who robbed customers in brothels. The creeps "a feeling of dread or revulsion" first attested 1849, in Dickens.
Idioms and Phrases with creeping
In addition to the idiom beginning with creep
- creep up on
- make one's flesh creep
- the creeps