Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
Old English creopan "to creep" (class II strong verb; past tense creap, past participle cropen), from Proto-Germanic *kreupanan (cf. Old Frisian kriapa, Middle Dutch crupen, Old Norse krjupa "to creep"), from PIE root *greug-. Related: Crept; creeping.
"a creeping motion," 1818, from creep (v.). Meaning "despicable person" is 1935, American English slang, perhaps from earlier sense of "sneak thief" (1914). Creeper "a gilded rascal" is recorded from c.1600, and the word also was used of certain classes of thieves, especially those who robbed customers in brothels. The creeps "a feeling of dread or revulsion" first attested 1849, in Dickens.
A disgusting and obnoxious person; crud, jerk, nerd •An isolated 1886 use seems to refer specifically to a cringing sycophant rather than a generally repulsive person: The man is nothing but a creep/ poets loyal to Blake and Whitman, the ''holy creeps''/ How to spend our money on making some creepo more creative in the growing world of weirdness
[first form 1930s+ students, second 1950s+; origin uncertain; perhaps fr one who makes one's flesh creep;perhaps generalized fr one who cringes and curries favor]