- 1[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to move forward on your hands and knees, with your body close to the ground Our baby is just starting to crawl. A man was crawling away from the burning wreckage. She crawled under the fence. See related entries: Babies
- 2[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) when an insect crawls, it moves forward on its legs There's a spider crawling up your leg.
- 3[intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) to move forward very slowly The traffic was crawling along. The weeks crawled by.
- 4[intransitive] crawl (to somebody) (informal, disapproving) to be too friendly or helpful to somebody in authority, in a way that is not sincere, especially in order to get an advantage from them She's always crawling to the boss. Word Origin Middle English: of unknown origin; possibly related to Swedish kravla and Danish kravle.Extra examples As night fell, we managed to crawl back to our lines. Has the baby started to crawl yet? There’s an insect crawling up your leg! We spent an hour crawling around on our hands and knees looking for the key. She was forced to crawl along through the thickening mist. The taxi crawled to a halt. The traffic was crawling as I left the city.Idioms (informal, disapproving) if you say that somebody comes/crawls out of the woodwork, you mean that they have suddenly appeared in order to express an opinion or to take advantage of a situation When he won the lottery, all sorts of distant relatives came out of the woodwork. to make you feel afraid or full of disgust Just the sight of him makes my skin crawl. See related entries: Disgust Phrasal Verbsbe crawling with something
BrE BrE//krɔːl//; NAmE NAmE//krɔːl//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they crawl
BrE BrE//krɔːl//; NAmE NAmE//krɔːl//he / she / it crawls
BrE BrE//krɔːlz//; NAmE NAmE//krɔːlz//past simple crawled
BrE BrE//krɔːld//; NAmE NAmE//krɔːld//past participle crawled
BrE BrE//krɔːld//; NAmE NAmE//krɔːld//-ing form crawling
BrE BrE//ˈkrɔːlɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈkrɔːlɪŋ//Babies