from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To move with the body close to the ground, as on hands and knees.
  • intransitive verb To move stealthily or cautiously.
  • intransitive verb To move or proceed very slowly.
  • intransitive verb To grow or spread along a surface, rooting at intervals or clinging by means of suckers or tendrils.
  • intransitive verb To grow horizontally under the ground, as the rhizomes of many plants.
  • intransitive verb To slip out of place; shift gradually.
  • intransitive verb To have a tingling sensation, made by or as if by things moving stealthily.
  • noun The act of creeping; a creeping motion or progress.
  • noun Slang An annoyingly unpleasant or repulsive person.
  • noun A slow flow of metal when under high temperature or great pressure.
  • noun A slow change in a characteristic of electronic equipment, such as a decrease in power with continued usage.
  • noun A usually unplanned and gradual shift or increase in uses or objectives away from what was originally specified or limited. Often used in combination.
  • noun Geology The slow movement of rock debris and soil down a weathered slope.
  • noun Informal A sensation of fear or repugnance, as if things were crawling on one's skin.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In chem., to rise above the surface of the liquid upon the walls of the containing-vessel, like salt crystals in an evaporating-dish.
  • 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.
  • noun The act of creeping.
  • noun 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.
  • noun plural A sensation as of something crawling over one; a sensation as of shivering. See creep, v. i., 6. Also called creepers.
  • noun Same as creeper, 6 .
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb 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 verb To move slowly, feebly, or timorously, as from unwillingness, fear, or weakness.
  • transitive verb To move in a stealthy or secret manner; to move imperceptibly or clandestinely; to steal in; to insinuate itself or one's self.
  • transitive verb To slip, or to become slightly displaced.
  • transitive verb To move or behave with servility or exaggerated humility; to fawn.
  • transitive verb 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 verb To have a sensation as of insects creeping on the skin of the body; to crawl. See Crawl, v. i., 4.
  • transitive verb To drag in deep water with creepers, as for recovering a submarine cable.
  • noun The act or process of creeping.
  • noun A distressing sensation, or sound, like that occasioned by the creeping of insects.
  • noun (Mining) 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The movement of something that creeps (like worms or snails)
  • noun A relatively small gradual change, variation or deviation (from a planned value) in a measure.
  • noun A slight displacement of an object: the slight movement of something
  • noun The gradual expansion or proliferation of something beyond its original goals or boundaries, considered negatively.
  • noun publishing In sewn books, the tendency of pages on the inside of a quire to stand out farther than those on the outside of it.
  • noun materials science An increase in strain with time; the gradual flow or deformation of a material under stress.
  • noun geology The imperceptible downslope movement of surface rock.


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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  • 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

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

    March 24, 2009