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verb [intransitive] crawl pronunciation in British English /krɔːl/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecrawling
past tensecrawled
past participlecrawled
  1. 1
    to move along the ground on your hands and knees or with your body close to the ground

    She crawled across the floor, her eyes stinging from the smoke.

    They crawled through the tunnel.

  2. 2
    if an insect crawls, it moves forwards using its legs

    Ants were crawling over the cheese.

  3. 3
    if a vehicle crawls, it moves forwards very slowly

    Cars and lorries crawled along the main road.

    1. b.
      if time crawls by, it seems to pass very slowly

      The weeks crawled by until we could meet again.

  4. 4
    showing disapproval to try extremely hard to please someone, in order to gain an advantage, in a way that makes other people not respect you
    crawl to:

    The way you crawl to them makes me sick.

    I’d rather die than go crawling back to him.

phrasal verbs


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a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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