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peek

[ peek ]
/ pik /
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See synonyms for: peek / peeked / peeking / peeks on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
to look or glance quickly or furtively, especially through a small opening or from a concealed location; peep; peer.
noun
a quick or furtive look or glance; peep.
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Origin of peek

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English piken (verb); perhaps dissimilated variant of kiken “to look furtively, keek”; see keek

synonym study for peek

1. See peep1.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH peek

peak, peek , pique, piqué
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

PEEK VS. PEAK VS. PIQUE

What's the difference between peekpeak, and pique?

The word peek is most commonly used as a verb meaning to look at something quickly or sneakily and as a noun referring to such a look. The word peak refers to the top of a mountain or, more figuratively, to the highest point of something, as in the peak of my career. The less frequently used word pique is most commonly used as a verb meaning to arouse or excite a particular feeling, as in Advertisements are designed to pique your interest.

The confusion surrounding the three words—all three of which can be used as both a verb and a noun—is mainly due to the fact that they are all pronounced the same.

Since peek and peak are so close in spelling, one way to tell them apart is to remember that peek has two e’s, which kind of look like two little eyes peeking out between the p and the k. Another way to remember this is that peek has two e’s like look has two o’s.

To remember what pique means (and how to spell it), remember that the things that pique your interest or curiosity are often unique.

Here’s an example of peek, peak, and pique used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The image of the strange mountain peak on the cover was meant to pique your curiosity, and it worked—you picked up the magazine to peek inside.

Want to learn more? Read the breakdown of the difference between peeked, peaked, and piqued.

Quiz yourself on peek vs. peak vs. pique!

Should peek, peak, or pique be used in the following sentence?

I can’t stay for long—I just want to take a quick _____ inside.

How to use peek in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for peek

peek
/ (piːk) /

verb
(intr) to glance quickly or furtively; peep
noun
a quick or furtive glance

Word Origin for peek

C14 pike, related to Middle Dutch kiken to peek
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
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