creep up on

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Related to creep up on: creep over

creep up on (someone or something)

1. To approach someone or something slowly and often stealthily. I crept up on my brother from behind and startled him.
2. To encroach (upon one or something) gradually over time. It wasn't until I sat down that I realized how much exhaustion had crept up on me. The weeds have been really creeping up on the edge of the yard over the last few years.
See also: creep, on, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, on, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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, on, up
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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