creep

[kreep]
||

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.

noun


Idioms

    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
Related formscreep·ing·ly, adverbnon·creep·ing, adjectiveout·creep, verb (used with object), out·crept, out·creep·ing.un·creep·ing, adjective

Synonyms for creep

Synonym study

1. See crawl1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for the creeps

creep

verb creeps, creeping or crept (intr)

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

noun

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
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

Word Origin and History for the creeps

creep

v.

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.

creep

n.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with the creeps

the creeps

Also, the willies. A sensation of horror or repugnance, as in That weird man gives me the creeps, or I get the willies when I hear that dirge music. The first of these colloquial terms alludes to a sensation of something crawling on one's skin. Charles Dickens used it in David Copperfield (1849) to describe a physical ailment: “She was constantly complaining of the cold and of its occasioning a visitation in her back, which she called ‘the creeps.’” But soon after it was used to describe fear and loathing. The variant dates from the late 1800s, and both its allusion and origin are unclear.

creep

In addition to the idiom beginning with creep

  • creep up on

also see:

  • make one's flesh creep
  • the creeps
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.