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crawl - definition and synonyms

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verb [intransitive]     crawl pronunciation in British English
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.

    1. a.
      when a baby crawls, it moves forwards on its hands and knees

      She is just learning to crawl.

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

    Ants were crawling over the cheese.

    Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    if a vehicle crawls, it moves forwards very slowly

    Cars and lorries crawled along the main road.

    1. a.
      if a person crawls somewhere, they move there very slowly or with difficulty

      I was so tired I just wanted to crawl into bed.

    2. 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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