Definition of creep in English:


Syllabification: creep
Pronunciation: /krēp

verb (past and past participle crept /krept/)

[no object]
1Move slowly and carefully, especially in order to avoid being heard or noticed: he crept downstairs, hardly making any noise they were taught how to creep up on an enemy
More example sentences
  • Sometimes, when Josie knew know no one would notice, she'd creep downstairs to the kitchen as quiet as a mouse and tiptoe out the back door when the cook wasn't looking.
  • As Jack slowly crept forward he heard a soft buzzing off in the corner.
  • After signaling everyone to stay outside, I carefully crept back into my room where I heard them discussing, yet again, me.
1.1(Of a thing) move very slowly at an inexorably steady pace: the fog was creeping up from the marsh
More example sentences
  • At some points the cave walls crept slowly closer to the path we walked, before steering away again into the distance.
  • As the morning slowly crept forward, more and more things began to stir.
  • The bus crept slowly through the viscous traffic pouring into the city.
1.2(Of a plant) grow along the ground or other surface by means of extending stems or branches: (as adjective creeping) tufts of fine leaves grow on creeping rhizomes
More example sentences
  • Branches and trunks twist and bend as they grow, creeping horizontally along the ground as well as reaching toward the sky.
  • This plant is happy to creep along the ground or to climb into trees and into hedges.
  • Because of the harsh environment, most plants that survive in the tundra are dwarfed, and many have stems that creep along the ground.
2 (creep in/into) (Of an unwanted and negative characteristic or fact) occur or develop gradually and almost imperceptibly: errors crept into his game (as adjective creeping) the creeping centralization of power
More example sentences
  • Zoe's illness took her family by surprise and crept into their lives gradually.
  • Sometimes that cold creeps in gradually and the end result is pneumonia or even a heart attack.
  • That was before errors really crept into their game to deny them two points.
2.1 (creep up) Increase slowly but steadily in number or amount: interest rates have been creeping up in the past few weeks
More example sentences
  • The idea is that the risks are lower because your investment creeps up in value more steadily over the years.
  • Fixed rates started creeping up at the end of last summer in anticipation of increases in the base rate.
  • So, the blue line creeps up as the value of your gift increases.


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1 informal A detestable person.
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately, these creeps are hiding behind the First Amendment and doing things that in no civilized society should be tolerated.
  • Guys aren't the only insensitive creeps out there.
  • I like the creeps and weirdos on public transport.
1.1A person who behaves in an obsequious way in the hope of advancement.
More example sentences
  • I guess some people thought I was a creep, offering sycophantic praise of someone who happens to be my boss.
2Slow movement, especially at a steady but almost imperceptible pace: an attempt to prevent this slow creep of costs
More example sentences
  • I notice things like the slow creep of Q10 from advertising for women's products into advertising for male grooming products.
  • I have had problems with their DNS about a year ago being slower than glacial creep.
  • The steady creep of branding in British schools has created an ideological battle that is tearing apart educators, parents and politicians.
2.1The tendency of a car with automatic transmission to move when in gear without the accelerator being pressed.
2.2The gradual downward movement of disintegrated rock or soil due to gravitational forces: stones and earth slowly slip down the slopes by soil creep
More example sentences
  • Convex slope segments commonly occur on the upper parts of slopes, near the drainage divide, as a result of soil creep and rainsplash erosion.
  • However, the persistence of fault creep does pose a costly nuisance in terms of maintenance and repair.
  • This time-dependent creep is likely to arise from low-temperature intracrystalline plasticity in clay minerals.
2.3The gradual deformation of a plastic solid under stress.
More example sentences
  • When the stress is low enough, essentially all transient creep is linear with stress and recoverable.
  • At the peak of the 30th cycle, the load was held constant for 20 minutes and static creep deformation was recorded.
  • Both deformation and creep mechanisms change with temperature.
2.4Gradual bulging of the floor of a mine owing to pressure on the pillars.
More example sentences
  • Pillar widening is a good hypothesis for creep rate reduction in mines.


Old English crēopan 'move with the body close to the ground', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kruipen. sense 1 of the verb dates from Middle English.


give someone the creeps

informal Induce a feeling of revulsion or fear in someone.
More example sentences
  • The entire situation gave her the creeps, but she refused to become paralysed with fear.
  • Most people don't refrain from, say, marrying their siblings because it is illegal; they refrain because the very idea gives them the creeps.
  • It gives me the creeps, just in time for Halloween.
repel, repulse, revolt, disgust, sicken, nauseate, make someone's flesh creep, make someone's skin crawl;
scare, frighten, terrify, horrify
informal gross out, freak out, creep out

Phrasal verbs

creep someone out

informal Give someone an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease: an anonymous note like that would creep me out
More example sentences
  • Most of my friends have clown phobias, which makes my life difficult cos he creeps them out.
  • Unfortunately, lately he's been creeping me out.
  • The thought of him being anything close to a brother to me actually crept me out.

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