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mission creep

The gradual expansion or widening in scope of a project, action, or task, especially a military operation, beyond its initial goal or objective. Congress is wary of granting the president's request for military authority in the region, fearing a repeat of the mission creep that plagued his last war effort.
See also: creep, mission

creep into

To enter some place stealthily. I'll watch the door while you creep into the lab and steal the poison. That possum must have crept into the basement while the door was open.
See also: creep

creep across something

1. Lit. to move across something slowly and carefully; to sneak across something. The soldiers crept slowly across the rope bridge. The cat crept across the floor, stalking the mouse.
2. Fig. [for light, fog, etc.] to move slowly across a place or an area. A heavy fog crept across the coastal areas. The spotlight crept across the stage from one side to the other, as if looking for the performer.
See also: across, creep

creep along something

to move along something slowly and carefully; to sneak along something. Creep along the side of the building until you reach the door. The cat crept along the narrow kitchen counter.
See also: creep

creep away

to travel away slowly and carefully; to sneak away. The boys were completely ashamed and crept away. The cat crept away quietly.
See also: away, creep

creep by

Fig. [for time] to pass slowly. The minutes crept by as I awaited Mrs. Barron's telephone call. I know the days will creep by until we finally get our test results.
See also: creep

creep in (to something)

to go into something or a place slowly and carefully; to sneak into something or a place. The cat crept into the bedroom. Max planned to creep into the house and take cash and jewelry.
See also: creep

creep out

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

creep out (of something)

to go out of something or a place slowly and carefully; to sneak out of something or a place. A little mouse crept out of the cupboard. The fox crept out of the henhouse, carrying a chicken.
See also: creep, out

creep over someone or something

1. Lit. [for something, such as an insect] to walk or crawl over someone or something. A huge ant crept over me, and I just lay there.
2. Fig. [for darkness] to move slowly over someone or something. The shadows crept over the picnic and made everyone realize what time it was. Dusk crept over us.
See also: creep

creep under something

to move slowly and carefully underneath something; to sneak underneath something. The dog crept under the table to escape punishment. The chipmunk crept under a pile of leaves and disappeared.
See also: creep

creep up

[for darkness] to move gradually and slowly [toward someone or something]. Dusk crept up and swallowed us in darkness.
See also: creep, up

creep up on someone or something

to sneak up on someone or something. Please don't creep up on me like that. You scared me to death. The cat crept up on the mouse. *the creeps and *the willies a state of anxiety or uneasiness. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I get the creeps when I see that old house. I really had the willies when I went down into the dark basement.
See also: creep, up

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

When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out of the window.

 and When the wolf comes in at the door, love creeps out of the window.
Prov. If a couple gets married because they are in love, but they do not have enough money, they will stop loving each other when the money runs out. You young folks may think you can live on love alone, but when poverty comes in at the door, love flies out of the window. After Susan lost her job, she and her unemployed husband had a big argument. When the wolf comes in at the door, love creeps out of the window.
See also: come, flies, love, of, out, poverty, window

give you the creeps

1. to make you feel frightened or nervous give you the willies This old house gives me the creeps.
2. to cause someone to feel dislike or disgust My neighbor gives me the creeps.
Usage notes: also used in the form get the creeps: The moment she met Billy, she got the creeps.
See also: creep, give

make somebody's flesh crawl/creep

if someone or something makes your flesh creep, you think they are extremely unpleasant or frightening (often in present tenses) Spiders and insects really make my flesh crawl. I hate that guy in accounts, he makes my flesh creep.
See also: crawl, flesh, make

give somebody the creeps/willies

to make you feel frightened and anxious, especially when there is no real reason for this This old house gives me the creeps. I've never liked spiders - they give me the willies.
See also: creep, give

creep up on

Advance slowly or stealthily, as in The cat crept up on the bird, or Autumn is creeping up on us. This expression is recorded in slightly different form- creep in or creep on -from the 15th century on. One of the Hymns to the Virgin and Christ (c. 1430) has "Now age has cropen [crept] up on me ful stille."
See also: creep, up

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

the creeps

Also, the willies. A sensation of horror or repugnance, as in That weird man gives me the creeps, or I get the willies when I hear that dirge music. The first of these colloquial terms alludes to a sensation of something crawling on one's skin. Charles Dickens used it in David Copperfield (1849) to describe a physical ailment: "She was constantly complaining of the cold and of its occasioning a visitation in her back, which she called 'the creeps.'" But soon after it was used to describe fear and loathing. The variant dates from the late 1800s, and both its allusion and origin are unclear.
See also: creep


n. a weird person; an eerie person. Charlie is such a creep when he’s stoned.

creep joint

and creep dive
n. an unpleasant place populated by creeps. You shouldn’t go into a creep joint like that alone. What’s a nice girl like you doing in a creep dive like this?
See also: creep, joint

creep dive

See also: creep, dive

the creeps

n. the jitters; a case of nerves. These movies always give me the creeps.
See also: creep

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 periodicals archive ?
In the study, three samples were prepared for creep determination (one for each of 0, 15 and 30%); nine samples for compressive strength determination (three for each of 0, 15 and 30%); three samples for shrinkage experiments (one for each of 0, 15 and 30%).
Habeger CC and Coffin DW: "The Role of Stress-Concentrations in Accelerated Creep and Sorption- Induced Physical Aging", Journal of Pulp and Paper Science, Vol.
Small punch test method assessment for the determination of the residual creep, life of service exposed components--outcomes from an interlaboratory exercise.
Future research will also encompass development of a creep buckling computer algorithm based on beam finite elements.
That settles the string into the mechanics of the particular bow and will take out most remaining creep.
Some temperature change tests were conducted in order to determine the activation energy for creep [Q.
Based on our experience with AIS, an addendum to this risk is as follows: a fundamental risk within the rapid deployment capability process is rapid requirements creep within a given execution year in which scarce resources were pulled together at the eleventh hour for the RDC in the first place.
further explore the Lock-up Creep Hypothesis, Chart II.
3 mm, as given in Table 1 and Figure 7, reveals for the EPIs the same order of magnitude and a well-comparable bandwidth of the scatter between different products and creep times.
Abstract: Electromigration, creep and thermal fatigue are the most important aspects of solder joint reliability, the failure mechanisms of which used to be investigated separately.
With bracket creep, taxes - which keeps on getting bigger and bigger - eat a bigger share of family income.
This month, polymer expert and technical blog author, Dr Charlie Geddes, looks at how to avoid getting caught out by creep.
The creep was caught later trying to use her credit card and is now serving a seven-year jail term.
One of the avenues for reducing emission in engines and processing is to increase the operating temperature, but that increases the risk of creep and creep fracture in the containment material.