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crawl into (one's) shell

To retreat into one's mind or otherwise isolate oneself so as to avoid undesirable thoughts, situations, or interactions with people. After getting mugged, I crawled into my shell and didn't speak to anyone for nearly a week. I'm not good around large groups of people; I usually just crawl into my shell and wait until I can be alone. Don't crawl into your shell because you don't want an argument—talk to me and let's discuss the problem!
See also: crawl, shell

crawl (all) over each other

Of a group or population of people, to be in fierce or eager competition with one another such that the individual's well-being, success, or survival becomes secondary to that of others. It's sad, really, how people crawl all over each other just to earn a little bit more money. Whenever a major disaster occurs, people crawl over each other to secure food and shelter for themselves.
See also: crawl, each, other

pub crawl

A tour of local pubs or bars, usually with the purpose of having one or more drinks at each along the way. We're going on a literary pub crawl tonight to visit all the pubs the city's famous authors used to frequent. That's the last time I do a pub crawl; my body just can't handle that much booze anymore!
See also: crawl

make (one's) skin crawl

To cause one to feel disgusted, frightened, or unnerved. Having to look all those surgical photos made my skin crawl. The mere mention of cockroaches makes her skin crawl.
See also: crawl, make, skin

crawl across (something)

1. Of a person, to move across an area on one's hands and knees. When I turned back around, the baby was already crawling across the room!
2. Of an insect, to walk across an area. When I saw the bee crawling across the windowsill, I bolted out of the room.
See also: across, crawl

crawl back to (one)

To return to someone in a dejected or humbled fashion. Maybe if you went crawling back to your boss, you could get your job back.
See also: back, crawl

crawl in(to) (some place or thing)

1. To enter an area or thing on one's hands and knees. I can't fit in that tiny space so can you crawl in and get that box? The kids crawled into the tunnel and then went down the slide.
2. To get into one's bed. After moving boxes all day, I couldn't wait to crawl into bed and get some sleep.
3. To quickly put on an article of clothing. Adam crawled into his pants and ran out the door as soon as he heard the fire alarm.
See also: crawl, place

crawl out

To exit a place or thing on one's hands and knees. The baby will definitely crawl out of the room if you don't put the baby gate up. The kids crawled out of the tunnel and then came running back to us.
See also: crawl, out

crawl over (something)

To climb over something on one's hands and knees. The baby crawled over the toys on the floor as if they weren't even there.
See also: crawl

crawling with (something)

Having something in abundance; full of something. Ugh, the mall is crawling with teenagers tonight—I feel so old. We had to call an exterminator when we learned that our walls were crawling with termites. I'm not crazy about that place, so can we go somewhere else for dinner?
See also: crawl

make (one's) flesh crawl

To cause one to feel disgusted, frightened, or unnerved. Having to look all those surgical photos made my flesh crawl. The mere mention of cockroaches makes her flesh crawl.
See also: crawl, flesh, make

crawl across something

 and crawl along something
[for someone] to move across something on hands and knees; [for an insect or something similar] to walk across something. The wounded officer had to crawl across the open area to get to safety. The caterpillar crawled across the leaf and stopped at the end. She crawled along the catwalk, fearing to look down.
See also: across, crawl

crawl back to someone

Fig. to go back to someone humbly, perhaps asking for forgiveness. I knew you would come crawling back to me! I wouldn't crawl back to him for all the tea in China.
See also: back, crawl

crawl in

 (to something)
1. Lit. to enter a place crawling or creeping. The cat crawled into the room and meowed. The baby crawled in and tried to stand up.
2. Fig. to dress quickly in some kind of clothing. I crawled into my pants and threw on a shirt. He finally found his pants and crawled in.
3. Fig. to get into bed. At about ten o'clock, she crawled into bed. She pulled back the covers and crawled in.
See also: crawl

crawl out

to get out by crawling. The bears finally woke up and crawled out. In the cave, I injured my leg and I had to crawl out.
See also: crawl, out

crawl out

(from under someone or something) Go to out (from under someone or something).
See also: crawl, out

crawl out (of something)

to get out of something by crawling. The injured man crawled out of the overturned car. Donna crawled out of the cave.
See also: crawl, out

Crawl over something

to cross over something by crawling. We crawled over the pile of boxes. Timmy crawled over the carpet and stood up at the coffee table.
See also: crawl

crawling with some kind of creature

[of a surface] covered with insects or animals, moving about. The basement was crawling with rats! We came home and found the kitchen floor crawling with ants.
See also: crawl, creature, kind, of

crawling with someone

Fig. [of a surface] covered with many people or members of a class of people moving about. The place was crawling with police and FBI agents. The city was crawling with tourists making it almost impossible to go from place to place.
See also: crawl

make someone's flesh crawl

 and make someone's skin crawl
to cause someone's skin to feel funny or get goose pimples through fright. Just to hear the story of the killings made my flesh crawl. The horror movie made our skin crawl.
See also: crawl, flesh, make

*out of the woodwork

Fig. out into the open from other places or a place of concealment. (*Typically: bring someone or something ~; come ~; creep ~.) When the cake appeared, all the office people suddenly came out of the woodwork.
See also: of, out, woodwork

make one's flesh creep

Also, make one's skin crawl. Cause one to shudder with disgust or fear, as in That picture makes my flesh creep, or Cockroaches make my skin crawl. This idiom alludes to the feeling of having something crawl over one's body or skin. The first term appeared in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1727): "Something in their countenance made my flesh creep with a horror I cannot express." The variant dates from the late 1800s.
See also: creep, flesh, make

out of the woodwork

Emerging from obscurity or a place of seclusion. It often is put as come (or crawl) out of the woodwork, as in The candidates for this job were coming out of the woodwork. The expression alludes to insects crawling out of the interior wooden fittings of a house, such as baseboards and moldings. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
See also: of, out, woodwork

make your flesh creep


make your flesh crawl

If something or someone makes your flesh creep or makes your flesh crawl, they make you feel uncomfortable because you find them so unpleasant or frightening. I didn't like him the first time I set eyes on him and now I know why. He made my flesh creep. I could see nobody. But they could see me. It made my flesh crawl. Note: You can also say that someone or something makes your skin crawl. Then suddenly she laughed. The sound made his skin crawl.
See also: creep, flesh, make

make your skin crawl

If something or someone makes your skin crawl, you find them very unpleasant and frightening. The way he looks at me makes my skin crawl. I hated this man, his very touch made my skin crawl. Compare with make your flesh creep.
See also: crawl, make, skin

crawl with

To be swarming or covered with moving things: The accident scene was crawling with police officers.
See also: crawl

crawling with someone/something

mod. covered with someone or something; alive with someone or something. The place was crawling with police and FBI agents.
See also: crawl, something

out of the woodwork

Out of obscurity or a place of seclusion: People were coming out of the woodwork to apply for the desirable job.
See also: of, out, woodwork
References in classic literature ?
Soul and body walked or crawled side by side, yet apart, so slender was the thread that bound them.
Then began as grim a tragedy of existence as was ever played - a sick man that crawled, a sick wolf that limped, two creatures dragging their dying carcasses across the desolation and hunting each other's lives.
They crawled along until their way was barred by a wall.
I crawled out of the swamp and I'm not crawling back in," he added.
In the context of this work, this is the data crawled from the Web.
Brittany then crawled out of the car and partially up the bank--despite her broken legs and wrist--to get into a position where she could get a phone signal.
Creating chrysalides: After about a week, it was time for their journey to the top of the container, where they instinctively crawled, flipped upside down and changed into chrysalides.
Leo Chau and Sean Duffy, seniors at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Columbia University, respectively, crawled through severe lightning, rain, hail, and freezing temperatures only to end up in the emergency room after breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest distance continuously crawled.
Experts specify the number of levels down into a site that should be crawled (most sites being organized hierarchically) as well as the distance of other sites linked to from the expert-provided site that should be pursued (for example, options are one to two jumps from the original URL).
For Tompkins Square Crawl, 1991, the artist, dressed in a business suit and awkwardly holding a tiny flowerpot, laboriously crawled on his stomach around the East Village park.
He crawled through wire mesh gates and down a short lane towards the platform.
And, perhaps most famously and unsettlingly, he crawled through New York's Tompkins Square Park wearing a suit and clutching a flowerpot, while a white cameraman, whom he had hired, recorded each inch and minute of his excruciating progress.
A 45-YEAR-old man crawled for two hours to reach a telephone to call an ambulance after surviving a 100ft fall down a cliff.
After determining the location of the child's bedroom, and without regard for his personal safety, Sergeant Norwood entered the smoke-filled house, crawled up the stairs, and began to blindly search for the child.
A GIRL of nine who crawled into her blazing home to rescue her little brother has won one of the world's highest bravery awards.