verb (used without object)

to stoop or bend low.
to bend close to the ground, as an animal preparing to spring or shrinking with fear.
to bow or stoop servilely; cringe.

verb (used with object)

to bend low.


the act of crouching.

Origin of crouch

1175–1225; Middle English crouchen, perhaps blend of couchen to lie down (see couch) and croken to crook1
Related formscrouch·er, nouncrouch·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for crouch

huddle, squat, hunch, cower, grovel, stoop, bend, wince, kneel, quail, duck, dip, bow, quat

Examples from the Web for crouch

Contemporary Examples of crouch

Historical Examples of crouch

  • Her mate had slowly relaxed from his crouch and was watching her.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • His brutality had made the delicacy in her crouch and sicken.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • He seemed to crouch on his chair, and the hand that held the paper shook.


    Raphael Sabatini

  • The birds, the insects even, all life seemed to crouch, hushed and expectant.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • But out of the tail of my eye I saw him crouch, ready to leap.

British Dictionary definitions for crouch



(intr) to bend low with the limbs pulled up close together, esp (of an animal) in readiness to pounce
(intr) to cringe, as in humility or fear
(tr) to bend (parts of the body), as in humility or fear


the act of stooping or bending

Word Origin for crouch

C14: perhaps from Old French crochir to become bent like a hook, from croche hook
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

Word Origin and History for crouch

late 14c., probably from Old French crochir "become bent, crooked," from croche "hook" (see crochet). Related: Crouched; crouching. As a noun, from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper