from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move with the body close to the ground, as on hands and knees.
  • intransitive v. To move stealthily or cautiously.
  • intransitive v. To move or proceed very slowly: Traffic creeps at that hour.
  • intransitive v. Botany To grow or spread along a surface, rooting at intervals or clinging by means of suckers or tendrils.
  • intransitive v. Botany To grow horizontally under the ground, as the rhizomes of many plants.
  • intransitive v. To slip out of place; shift gradually.
  • intransitive v. To have a tingling sensation, made by or as if by things moving stealthily: a moan that made my flesh creep.
  • n. The act of creeping; a creeping motion or progress.
  • n. Slang An annoyingly unpleasant or repulsive person.
  • n. A slow flow of metal when under high temperature or great pressure.
  • n. A slow change in a characteristic of electronic equipment, such as a decrease in power with continued usage.
  • n. Geology The slow movement of rock debris and soil down a weathered slope.
  • n. Informal A sensation of fear or repugnance, as if things were crawling on one's skin: That house gives me the creeps.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The movement of something that creeps (like worms or snails)
  • n. A relatively small gradual change, variation or deviation (from a planned value) in a measure.
  • n. A slight displacement of an object: the slight movement of something
  • n. The gradual expansion or proliferation of something beyond its original goals or boundaries, considered negatively.
  • n. In sewn books, the tendency of pages on the inside of a quire to stand out farther than those on the outside of it.
  • n. An increase in strain with time; the gradual flow or deformation of a material under stress.
  • n. The imperceptible downslope movement of surface rock.
  • n. An annoying irritating person
  • n. A frightening and/or disconcerting person, especially one who gives the speaker chills or who induces psychosomatic facial itching.
  • n. A barrier with small openings used to keep large animals out while allowing smaller animals to pass through.
  • v. To move slowly with the abdomen close to the ground.
  • v. Of plants, to grow across a surface rather than upwards.
  • v. To move slowly and quietly in a particular direction.
  • v. To make small gradual changes, usually in a particular direction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of creeping.
  • n. A distressing sensation, or sound, like that occasioned by the creeping of insects.
  • n. A slow rising of the floor of a gallery, occasioned by the pressure of incumbent strata upon the pillars or sides; a gradual movement of mining ground.
  • transitive v. To move along the ground, or on any other surface, on the belly, as a worm or reptile; to move as a child on the hands and knees; to crawl.
  • transitive v. To move slowly, feebly, or timorously, as from unwillingness, fear, or weakness.
  • transitive v. To move in a stealthy or secret manner; to move imperceptibly or clandestinely; to steal in; to insinuate itself or one's self.
  • transitive v. To slip, or to become slightly displaced.
  • transitive v. To move or behave with servility or exaggerated humility; to fawn.
  • transitive v. To grow, as a vine, clinging to the ground or to some other support by means of roots or rootlets, or by tendrils, along its length.
  • transitive v. To have a sensation as of insects creeping on the skin of the body; to crawl. See Crawl, v. i., 4.
  • transitive v. To drag in deep water with creepers, as for recovering a submarine cable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move with the body near or touching the ground, as a reptile or an insect, a cat stealthily approaching its prey, or an infant on hands and knees.
  • In botany: To grow prostrate along the ground or other surface.
  • To grow below the surface, as rooting shoots. A creeping plant usually fastens itself by roots to the surface upon which it grows.
  • To move along, or from place to place, slowly, feebly, or timorously; move imperceptibly, as time.
  • To move secretly; move so as to escape detection or evade suspicion; enter unobserved.
  • To move or behave with extreme servility or humility; move as if affected with a sense of humiliation or terror.
  • To have a sensation as of worms or insects creeping on the skin: as, the sight made my flesh creep.
  • To move longitudinally: said of the rails of a railroad.
  • Synonyms Crawl, Creep. See crawl.
  • In chem., to rise above the surface of the liquid upon the walls of the containing-vessel, like salt crystals in an evaporating-dish.
  • n. The act of creeping.
  • n. In coal-mining, the apparent rising of the floor, or under-clay, of the mine between the pillars, or where the roof is not fully supported, caused by the pressure of the superincumbent strata.
  • n. plural A sensation as of something crawling over one; a sensation as of shivering. See creep, v. i., 6. Also called creepers.
  • n. Same as creeper, 6 .
  • n. In geology, the extremely slow downward movement of disintegrated rock on hillsides. Ground-water, frost, and changes of temperature are the chief factors in such movement.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. grow or spread, often in such a way as to cover (a surface)
  • n. a pen that is fenced so that young animals can enter but adults cannot
  • n. a slow mode of locomotion on hands and knees or dragging the body
  • v. move slowly; in the case of people or animals with the body near the ground
  • n. someone unpleasantly strange or eccentric
  • v. to go stealthily or furtively
  • v. show submission or fear
  • n. a slow longitudinal movement or deformation


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English crepen, from Old English crēopan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English crepen, from Old English crēopan ("to creep, crawl"), from Proto-Germanic *kreupanan (“to twist, creep”), from Proto-Indo-European *ger- (“to turn, wind”). Cognate with Eastern Frisian crjippa ("to creep"), Dutch kruipen ("to creep, crawl"), Middle High German kriefen ("to creep"), Danish krybe ("to creep"), Norwegian krype ("to creep"), Swedish krypa ("to creep, crawl"), Icelandic krjúpa ("to stoop").



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  • Hey, let's do a Tricky Dicky open list. Any takers?

    March 24, 2009

  • n: type of mass wasting involving gradual downhill movement of soil and regolith. May be caused by the alternate expansion and contraction of surface material (by freezing and thawing, or wetting and drying) upward at right angles to the slope and downward through gravity.

    March 24, 2009