Meaning of creep in English:


Pronunciation /kriːp/

See synonyms for creep

Translate creep into Spanish


[no object]
  • 1usually with adverbial of direction Move slowly and carefully in order to avoid being heard or noticed.

    ‘he crept downstairs, hardly making any noise’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She carefully crept down the hall, making sure to avoid the creaky floorboards, towards Jordan's office.’
    • ‘Slowly and carefully, I crept over the back of the couch to go see it.’
    • ‘I creep downstairs, cringing at the creaking of every hardwood step as I make my way down.’
    • ‘Quietly, so Chase would not hear her downstairs, she crept over to the window and looked out.’
    • ‘She carefully crept onto the bed and put her arms around him.’
    • ‘Not bothering to fix his bed, he carefully crept out of his room.’
    • ‘That night, at midnight, Jon crept carefully into the Princess's chambers.’
    • ‘She carefully crept around them and made her way to Fiona.’
    • ‘She carefully crept forward and jumped down a small hole, disappearing into the darkness with a small splash.’
    • ‘Rochelle heard them and crept softly into the kitchen, just as Angel turned away.’
    • ‘Without a sound Elizabeth slipped into the house and carefully crept through the kitchen and then up the stairs.’
    • ‘I dropped my counseling folder onto the desk and walked outside silently, carefully creeping around the corner.’
    • ‘Early the next morning she crept downstairs and picked up the broken pieces of the mirror, drove to the lake and threw them all into the river.’
    • ‘Much later, he crept downstairs and drank from his water dish, but he wasn't his old self and took no notice of me.’
    • ‘The next day Annabelle crept slowly around the castle, trying to avoid going to see Adrian at all.’
    • ‘Slowly he crept towards Lana, conscious of his every move, careful not to make a sound.’
    • ‘He carefully slid out from under the boxes and slowly crept over to the desk, one eye on the door, the other on the bookcases.’
    crawl, move on all fours, move on hands and knees, pull oneself, inch, edge, slither, slide, squirm, wriggle, writhe, worm, worm one's way, insinuate oneself
    sneak, steal, slip, slink, sidle, skulk, pad, prowl, tiptoe, pussyfoot, soft-shoe, tread warily, move stealthily, move furtively, move unnoticed, walk quietly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a thing) move very slowly and inexorably.
      ‘the fog was creeping up from the marsh’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Time crept slowly by as my thoughts flashed over the good day I had enjoyed.’
      • ‘I can feel the sense of wellness slowly creeping back into my bones.’
      • ‘And then, ever so slowly, a smile crept across her face.’
      • ‘The sunlight crept through my eyelids slowly as I regained consciousness.’
      • ‘Slowly the sand crept over him and he gave in to the cocooned abyss.’
      • ‘Slowly, a notion crept across his brain; this strange language was not entirely unknown to him.’
      • ‘The night crept on slowly, bringing with it the orchestra of crickets outside and echoing sounds in the store.’
      • ‘Slowly darkness crept over and covered her surroundings until nothing but shadows where visible.’
      • ‘As the sun's first rays slowly crept over the horizon, he began to speak.’
      • ‘Exhaustion slowly crept over her and she decided to rest in the parlor so that if her help was needed she'd be ready.’
      • ‘The bedroom door slowly crept opened as the mid-morning sunlight bled into the dingy space.’
      • ‘As the sun crept its way slowly into her view, she saw the same picture reflected in the lake's surface.’
      • ‘I had trouble keeping my eyes off the clock as the time slowly crept forward.’
      • ‘Tears slowly crept down her face as she battled between what she saw and what he was saying.’
      • ‘Slowly, as June crept on, life began to take on some semblance of normalcy for most of the residents of London.’
      • ‘Time crept as slowly as the shadow on a sundial and my precious dreams were jigsawed around me.’
      • ‘A shooting star was slowly creeping across the sky.’
  • 2(of a plant) grow along the ground or other surface by means of extending stems or branches.

    ‘thorny roses crept up the dull gray walls’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It can also reproduce asexually using stems that creep along the ground and establish new roots, giving rise to its name.’
    • ‘Vines crept apace along neighborhood fences, their flowers still opening in the warm mornings.’
    • ‘Or arrange them on packed soil so you can grow plants such as creeping thyme in wider spaces between them.’
    • ‘This beautiful plant has two pink bell-like flowers on a slender stem and a thicker stem below, which creeps along forming small mats of the plant.’
    • ‘When the seed sprouts and the vine begins to creep along the ground, it seems it will never quit (similar to other squash).’
    • ‘The trees were tall and vast, of tropical origin, with vines hanging from the branches and creeping along the damp earth.’
    • ‘It has short, creeping rhizomes from which new shoots arise each year, and is an attractive species with horticultural potential.’
    • ‘Bright green baby's tears, blue star creeper, and creeping thyme grow below them.’
    • ‘He pulled up to a huge gate, covered in rose vines creeping along the steel bars.’
    • ‘Moss has crept between the bricks until it's impossible to distinguish old sections of paving from new.’
    • ‘There were potted plants here and there; hanging plants and creeping vines.’
    • ‘Low, mounding chamomile and creeping thymes grow between the nemesias.’
    • ‘Allow creeping vines to run along the ground in areas that are difficult to mow.’
    • ‘Thick moss layered the rest of the floor like a carpet, occasional vines of twisting colored flowers creeping over the vibrant green.’
    • ‘As culinary plants, most creeping thymes tank far below the English and French thymes, or the best-flavored citrus strains.’
    • ‘Genie unraveled the huge vines that crept along the wall and revealed a door.’
    • ‘Once you have the rocks in place, plant some ivy and creeping violets throughout, so that it will spill over the rocks.’
  • 3(of a plastic solid) undergo gradual deformation under stress.


  • 1 informal, derogatory A detestable person.

    • ‘I thought he was a nasty little creep’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'll tell you why guys are so fickle at times, if you'll tell me why so many cool girls go ga-ga over creeps.’
    • ‘Economists are, in short, more likely than you or I to be selfish creeps.’
    • ‘He was worshipped by cartoon creeps and hot-rod hooligans alike.’
    • ‘Indigenous people who I tell these things to find it spooky, and I have to admit that it's not fun being stalked by creeps.’
    • ‘Why did that little creep have to be right about everything?’
    • ‘You're such a heartless creep, I don't know why I put up with you.’
    • ‘Wendy took off, wailing and crying about me being some heartless creep with no consideration for her feelings.’
    • ‘And if some heartless creep makes rude remarks that hurt your friend, you are not responsible for his actions.’
    • ‘Even if this guy was a total creep, maybe his superiors would be better.’
    • ‘Besides, if the guy was a creep, he would have done something last night.’
    • ‘It's hard to screen out the creeps and the perverts and the losers while holding out hope you'll some day meet Mr. Right.’
    • ‘On this issue, I hope that they stir things up so that the creep gets what he deserves, and that organ donation also gets a run out of this terrible tragedy.’
    • ‘Falling onto the floor, I heard that creep laugh and he ran away.’
    rogue, villain, wretch, reprobate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who behaves obsequiously in the hope of advancement.
      • ‘I guess some people thought I was a creep, offering sycophantic praise of someone who happens to be my boss.’
      sycophant, obsequious person, crawler, groveller, truckler, toady, fawner, flatterer, lickspittle, doormat, kowtower, spaniel, Uriah Heep
      View synonyms
  • 2mass noun Slow steady movement, especially when imperceptible.

    ‘an attempt to prevent this slow creep of costs’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As soon as the light turned green, I pulled up by the front of the dealership, and slowed to a creep as we both took a long look at the bikes.’
    • ‘They were nearly to the alcove, and she slowed to a creep as she now began moving the last few feet in an almost sideways gate, keeping her weight on her right leg.’
    • ‘However, the existence of the income tax allowed for a slow creep that eroded the American resistance to income taxation.’
    • ‘Our understanding of biological processes progresses at a painful creep, each advance usually the result of work by multiple groups of scientists.’
    1. 2.1The tendency of a car with automatic transmission to move when in gear without the accelerator being pressed.
      • ‘creep can be useful in slow-moving traffic or when parking’
    2. 2.2The gradual downward movement of disintegrated rock or soil due to gravity.
      ‘stones and earth slowly slip down the slopes by soil creep’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Coincidentally, stiffness recovery in rigor conditions showed gradual creep before reaching a plateau.’
    3. 2.3The gradual deformation of a plastic solid under stress.
      ‘metals and ceramics can also exhibit creep’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many artificial polymers share characteristic patterns of stress relaxation and creep compliance with time.’
      • ‘That is, they can support stress levels just below the yield stress for very long periods of time without stress relaxation or creep.’
      • ‘The two stage trigger did exhibit some creep, but was light and broke crisply.’
      • ‘This suggests that there is no characteristic time scale for the process, reminiscent of the dynamics of plastic flow in solids, which is termed creep.’
      • ‘It is a useful test for sorting out new alloys and has direct application to design where creep deformation can be tolerated but fracture must be prevented.’
      • ‘Tungsten has high tensile strength and good creep resistance.’
      • ‘The low tensile strength and low creep strength of lead must always be considered when designing lead components.’
      • ‘The processes result in improvements in yield strength, toughness and resistance to stress corrosion cracking, fatigue and creep.’
      • ‘At the same time, stress relief is brought about and creep strength is improved.’
    4. 2.4Gradual bulging of the floor of a mine owing to pressure on the pillars.
      ‘the mines were unworkable because of creep’
      • ‘Pillar widening is a good hypothesis for creep rate reduction in mines.’
  • 3British An opening in a hedge or wall for an animal to pass through.

    • ‘low in the wall are creeps, through which ewes gain access to grazing from the pastures behind’
    1. 3.1A feeding enclosure for young animals, with a long, narrow entrance.
      ‘young piglets spend most of their time in the creep’
      • ‘Perennial ryegrass is excellent for use in creep grazing pastures for young animals.’
      • ‘Calving and creep areas should be kept clean and well bedded.’
  • 4British mass noun Solid food given to young farm animals in order to wean them.

    ‘we've started to wean the lambs earlier and to keep them on creep’
    • ‘All lambs included in the study were provided access to pelleted creep from 10 days of age to weaning.’
    • ‘The production phases with the highest use were nursing piglets fed creep feed and nursery piglets fed starter rations.’
    • ‘Calves in each trial were offered a creep feed beginning 60 days subsequent to birth of the first calf in each trial.’
    • ‘No creep feed was provided, and bull calves were surgically castrated at birth.’
    • ‘Changes in creep diet composition may offer a solution to the negative effects of creep feeding.’
    • ‘Previously, creep feeding and creep feed protein level have not influenced ADG or BCS of dams.’
    • ‘The other payback is the obvious reduction in weaning stress experienced by calves already eating creep.’


    give someone the creeps
    • Induce a feeling of revulsion or fear in someone.

      • ‘eels wriggle, they're slimy, and they give some people the creeps’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It gives me the creeps sometimes to look through the files.’
      • ‘I can see why poker with friends might be pleasant, but solitary gambling in a commercial establishment gives me the creeps.’
      • ‘It isn't easy to articulate a moral argument against cloning, beyond the fact that it gives me the creeps.’
      • ‘The sight of Chinese acupuncture, in particular, still gives me the creeps.’
      • ‘The thought of needles poking me all over the body really gives me the creeps.’
      • ‘She gets this look on her face that gives me the creeps, and I'm not the only one that feels that way.’
      • ‘If this news doesn't give you the creeps then you aren't thinking clearly.’

Phrasal Verbs

    creep in
    • (of a negative characteristic or fact) occur or develop gradually and almost imperceptibly.

      • ‘doubt has to be creeping in’
    creep into
    • creep into something(of a negative characteristic or fact) spread gradually and almost imperceptibly into something.

      • ‘errors crept into his game’
    creep out
    • creep someone out, creep out someoneGive someone an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.

      • ‘an anonymous note like that would creep me out’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The limo driver creeps out the teens with sleazy demeanor.’
      • ‘The TV version, made in 1975, still creeps me out from the corners of my memory.’
      • ‘Why the cellar creeps me out is a mystery.’
      • ‘These written professions of love completely creep me out.’
      • ‘That way, you won't be staring directly, which could creep someone out.’
      • ‘Now that the spooky season is upon us, Old Montreal is a great area to creep yourself out with an evening walk.’
      • ‘Those movies creep me out, I tell her.’
    creep to
    British informal
    • creep to someoneBehave obsequiously towards someone in the hope of advancement.

      • ‘I'm not the kind of fellow that's going to creep to anybody’
    creep up
    • Increase slowly but steadily in number or amount.

      • ‘gas prices have been creeping up for a while’
    creep up on
    • creep up on someoneMove slowly and carefully towards someone in order to avoid being heard or noticed by them.

      • ‘they were taught how to creep up on an enemy’
      crawl, move on all fours, move on hands and knees, pull oneself, inch, edge, slither, slide, squirm, wriggle, writhe, worm, worm one's way, insinuate oneself
      sneak, steal, slip, slink, sidle, skulk, pad, prowl, tiptoe, pussyfoot, soft-shoe, tread warily, move stealthily, move furtively, move unnoticed, walk quietly
      View synonyms


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.