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.
Origin of creep
Synonyms for creep
verb creeps, creeping or crept (intr)
Word Origin for creep
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.
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.
In addition to the idiom beginning with creep
- creep up on
- make one's flesh creep
- the creeps