- 1 [no object] (Of a person) move forward on the hands and knees or by dragging the body close to the ground: they crawled out from under the tableMore example sentences
creep, worm one's way, go on all fours, go on hands and knees, wriggle, slither, squirm, scrabble
- I leaned forward, crawling on my knees to a bottle of beer resting on the desk next to the door.
- Rolling across the ground, she crawled forward on her belly, ignoring the taste of grime and blood in her mouth.
- Mack and I dove on the ground and began to crawl forward.
- 1.1(Of an insect or small animal) move slowly along a surface: the tiny spider was crawling up Nicky’s armMore example sentences
- The creature slowly crawled into the clearing and snuck over to Oki's side.
- A pale green light shrouded the scenery, above a canopy thrived and animals and birds crawled and flew through the treetops.
- The knight rode ahead of him calm and self-contained, but Kieran felt as though insects were crawling under the surface of his skin.
- 1.2(Of a vehicle) move at an unusually slow pace: the traffic was crawling alongMore example sentences
- He sat down beside her and looked at the constant stream of slow-moving vehicles crawling along to the junction with the street.
- The streets of South London were unusually dark as our bus crawled through a rainy Clapham and Brixton.
- When I looked out of the window, there were three or four blokes going from door-to-door whilst an unmarked transit van crawled along behind them.
- 1.3Swim using the crawl.More example sentences
- The result may have been a remarkably smooth motion, like the crawl performed by an expert swimmer.
- 2 [no object] • informal Behave obsequiously or ingratiatingly in the hope of gaining someone’s favor: don’t come crawling back to me later when you realize your mistakeMore example sentences
- Bill's always crawling to management, hoping for promotion.
- That's just what independent people who have worked hard all their lives want: to have to go crawling to the State with their begging bowl out.
- Next thing you know, the t-shirt companies will come crawling to you, asking for you to be their ambassador!
- 3 (be crawling with) Be covered or crowded with insects or people, to an extent that is disgusting or objectionable: the place was crawling with soldiersMore example sentences
- Inside it is crawling with maggot-like insects.
- In the beginning, the area had been crawling with soldiers and bristling with guns.
- You know the place is going to be crawling with all those people from the history department you don't like.
- 4 [with object] Computing (Of a program) systematically visit (a number of web pages) in order to create an index of data: its automated software robots crawl websites, grabbing copies of pages to indexMore example sentences
- At peak speeds, the system can crawl over 100 web pages per second using four crawlers.
- We use a huge set of computers to crawl billions of pages on the web.
- The 33-year-old wrote a program to crawl the Web and download menus from New York eateries.
noun[in singular] Back to top
- 1An act of moving on one’s hands and knees or dragging one’s body along the ground: they began the crawl back to their own linesMore example sentences
- Tyler and Tony began the long crawl back to their cells.
- Blake began the upside-down crawl on the net, his hands and feet hooking themselves into holes in the net like it was instinct.
- He slowed down as the bathroom came into sight, and walked at a circumspect crawl now.
- 1.1A slow rate of movement, typically that of a vehicle: he reduced his speed to a crawlMore example sentences
- I was forced to slow down to a crawl and pay special attention to everything going on around me.
- If every laptop user is downloading from the network at this speed, the servers will slow to a crawl.
- He said the road did not look particularly dangerous but jams were caused when motorist slowed down to a crawl because of the icy conditions.
- 2A swimming stroke involving alternate overarm movements and rapid kicks of the legs.More example sentences
- The crawl stroke, with flutter kick, had been introduced into competitive swimming a few years earlier by another Aussie.
- The shoulder can be put into a precarious position during the recovery and entry periods of the crawl and butterfly strokes.
- So popular was the gala that the number of events had to be restricted to the front crawl and the backstroke because such a large number of competitors turned up.
make someone's skin crawl
- see skin.
- More example sentences
- Four minutes fly by when you resonate with the sentiments expressed; but can also be crawlingly slow had you no idea at what was being conveyed.
- With the technology available to do otherwise, why restrict our geographical area and put up with crawlingly slow Internet connections?
- More example sentences
- I see the occasional spider and random crawly thing.
- Someone gave me a set, and they immediately hatched into hundreds of awful little crawly things with big teeth and millions of incessantly moving legs.
- The latter is filled with insects and fungi, and I doubt it will be anything short of a week before I get rid of the crawly sensation.
Middle English: of unknown origin; possibly related to Swedish kravla and Danish kravle.