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[peek] /pik/
verb (used without object)
to look or glance quickly or furtively, especially through a small opening or from a concealed location; peep; peer.
a quick or furtive look or glance; peep.
Origin of peek
1325-75; Middle English piken (v.); perhaps dissimilated variant of kiken to keek
Can be confused
peak, peek, pique, piqué.
1. See peep1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for peeking
  • Many of the books have a green or yellow ribbon peeking out from their top.
  • My satisfaction is more about peeking into the moment that they treasure than the perfection of the page.
  • But those doggie faces peeking out the windows in the above shot caught my fancy.
  • When no one is peeking, however, it acts in a really odd way.
  • peeking into the diary of one's big sister typically led to a skirmish.
  • Most countries ban ministerial peeking, giving them at best a couple of hours' notice for a few important statistics.
  • No one should be peeking at your genes without your prior knowledge and consent.
  • The growth in geotagging also allows us to pinpoint developments without peeking out of the window.
  • By peeking through the wooden roof slats in the attic, she showed us that the tin is still there.
  • In the healthy plant at right, you can see a long green ovary with a few mature seeds peeking out at the base of the capsule.
British Dictionary definitions for peeking


(intransitive) to glance quickly or furtively; peep
a quick or furtive glance
Word Origin
C14 pike, related to Middle Dutch kiken to peek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peeking



late 14c., piken "look quickly and slyly," of unknown origin. The words peek, keek, and peep all were used with more or less the same meaning 14c.-15c.; perhaps the ultimate source was Middle Dutch kieken. Related: Peeked; peeking.


"a peek, glance," 1844, from peek (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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