noun (used with a singular verb)
Veterinary Pathology. a disease of the bones in sheep and cattle that causes pain in walking, resulting from a deficiency of phosphorus in the diet.

so called from the effect on the animal's gait; see creep, -s3 Unabridged


verb (used without object), crept, creeping.
to move slowly with the body close to the ground, as a reptile or an insect, or a person on hands and knees.
to approach slowly, imperceptibly, or stealthily (often followed by up ): We crept up and peeked over the wall.
to move or advance slowly or gradually: The automobile crept up the hill. Time just seems to creep along on these hot summer days.
to sneak up behind someone or without someone's knowledge (usually followed by up on ): The prisoners crept up on the guard and knocked him out.
to enter or become evident inconspicuously, gradually, or insidiously (often followed by in or into: ) The writer's personal bias occasionally creeps into the account.
to move or behave timidly or servilely.
to grow along the ground, a wall, etc., as a plant.
to advance or develop gradually so as to infringe on or supplant something else.
to flirt with or make persistent sexual advances toward someone (often followed by on ): He creeps on all the women he meets.
to cheat on one’s sexual partner: He caught his wife creepin' with the guy who lives next-door.
Slang. to follow someone persistently or stealthily, as on a social-networking website (often followed by on ): He spends a lot of time creeping on her Facebook profile.
Slang. to suddenly intrude into someone’s photograph as it is being taken: Who’s that creeping in the background of the picture?
to slip, slide, or shift gradually; become displaced.
(of a metal object) to become deformed, as under continuous loads or at high temperatures.
Nautical. to grapple (usually followed by for ): The ships crept for their anchor chains.
verb (used with object), crept, creeping.
Slang. to follow persistently or stealthily, especially online: I’ve been creeping her blog and found some great recipes.
Archaic. to creep along or over.
an act or instance of creeping: It seems as if time has slowed to a creep.
Slang. a boring, disturbingly eccentric, painfully introverted, or obnoxious person.
Slang. an intelligence or counterintelligence agent; spy.
Slang. creeper ( def 9 ).
a gradual or inconspicuous increase, advance, change, or development: Avoid jargon creep in your writing. We are seeing the steady creep of consumerism.
the gradual movement downhill of loose soil, rock, gravel, etc.; solifluction.
the slow deformation of solid rock resulting from constant stress applied over long periods.
Mechanics. the gradual, permanent deformation of a body produced by a continued application of heat or stress.
a grappling iron; grapnel.
Firearms. the slack in a trigger mechanism before it releases the firing pin.
the creeps, Informal. a sensation of horror, fear, disgust, etc., suggestive of the feeling induced by something crawling over the skin: That horror movie gave me the creeps.
make one's flesh creep, to be frightening or repellent; cause one to experience uneasiness: The eerie stories made our flesh creep.

before 900; Middle English crepen, Old English crēopan; cognate with Dutch kruipen, Old Norse krjūpa

creepingly, adverb
noncreeping, adjective
outcreep, verb (used with object), outcrept, outcreeping.
uncreeping, adjective

1. See crawl1. 3. inch, crawl, dawdle, poke.


a person or thing that creeps.
Botany. a plant that grows upon or just beneath the surface of the ground, or upon any other surface, sending out rootlets from the stem, as ivy and couch grass.
Often, creepers. a one-piece garment for an infant, the lower portion resembling briefs and having snaps or buttons across the crotch for convenience in diapering.
Chiefly Northeastern U.S. a spiked iron plate worn on the shoe to prevent slipping on ice, rock, etc.
Also called cradle. Automotive. a flat framework on casters, on which a mechanic lies while working under an automobile or the like.
Ornithology. any of various birds that creep or climb about on trees, especially of the family Certhiidae, as Certhia americana (brown creeper or tree creeper) of the Northern Hemisphere.
a domestic fowl having malformed, short legs, due to a genetic defect.
a grappling device for dragging a river, lake, etc.
Also, creep. Slang. a sneak thief.
Slang. a person who makes persistent sexual advances toward someone, or who cheats on a sexual partner.
Slang. creep ( def 18 ).
Slang. a person who follows someone persistently or stealthily; a stalker.

before 1000; Middle English crepere, Old English crēopere. See creep, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
creep (kriːp)
vb , creeps, creeping, crept
1.  to crawl with the body near to or touching the ground
2.  to move slowly, quietly, or cautiously
3.  to act in a servile way; fawn; cringe
4.  to move or slip out of place, as from pressure or wear
5.  (of plants) to grow along the ground or over rocks, producing roots, suckers, or tendrils at intervals
6.  (of a body or substance) to become permanently deformed as a result of an applied stress, often when combined with heating
7.  to develop gradually: creeping unrest
8.  to have the sensation of something crawling over the skin
9.  (of metals) to undergo slow plastic deformation
10.  the act of creeping or a creeping movement
11.  slang a person considered to be obnoxious or servile
12.  the continuous permanent deformation of a body or substance as a result of stress or heat
13.  geology the gradual downwards movement of loose rock material, soil, etc, on a slope
14.  a slow relative movement of two adjacent parts, structural components, etc
15.  slow plastic deformation of metals
[Old English crēopan; related to Old Frisian kriāpa, Old Norse krjūpa, Middle Low German krūpen]

creeper (ˈkriːpə)
1.  a person or animal that creeps
2.  a plant, such as the ivy or periwinkle, that grows by creeping
3.  (US), (Canadian) Also called: tree creeper any small songbird of the family Certhiidae of the N hemisphere, having a brown-and-white plumage and slender downward-curving bill. They creep up trees to feed on insects
4.  a hooked instrument for dragging deep water
5.  Also called: cradle a flat board or framework mounted on casters, used to lie on when working under cars
6.  cricket Also called: daisy cutter a bowled ball that keeps low or travels along the ground
7.  either of a pair of low iron supports for logs in a hearth
8.  informal a shoe with a soft sole

creeps (kriːps)
pl n
informal the creeps a feeling of fear, repulsion, disgust, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. creopan "to creep" (class II strong verb; past tense creap, pp. cropen), from P.Gmc. *kreupanan, from PIE base *greug-. Noun use for "despicable person" is 1935, Amer.Eng. 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, esp. those who robbed customers in brothels. The creeps first attested 1849, in Dickens.

O.E. creopera "one who creeps," from creep. Meaning "lice" is from 1570s; of certain birds from 1660s; of certain plants from 1620s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
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The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Tarantulas give some people the creeps because of their large, hairy bodies and legs.
Slide the protector into place, press the center and the adhesive creeps betwixt screen and cover all by itself.
It got rather personal a few years ago, with references to evolution by creeps and evolution by jerks.
Even if the robot creeps you out, a laugh track might tell you to feel other
Images for creeps
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