Middle English Dictionary Entry

crẹ̄pen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

To crawl like a snake or worm; ppl. cropen, crawled, having crawled, that has (have) crawled; icropen in drit, crawling in filth.
(a) To creep on hands and knees, creep on hands and feet with the body held low; crawl like an ant; also, prostrate oneself (in devotion); (b) ~ in, to get into bed; ~ in (into), crawl into (a hole, corner, etc.); burrow into (the earth), sink into (the ground); ~ of, get out of (one's clothing); ~ out of, crawl out of (a hole, etc.), climb out of (sth.); (c) ~ to crois (crouch), to creep to the cross, go toward a crucifix prone or on one's knees; (d) to climb, crawl up; (e) of birds: to walk with the body held low.
In phrases, etc.: (a) creping, ppl. as n.: creeping or crawling creatures; -- also as sg.; creping best (thing), an animal which creeps or crawls; creping best (kind), creeping beasts; (b) crepen and gon, stonden ne ~, walken other ~, etc.; kind crepeth ther it mai not gon, nature creeps when it cannot walk.
(a) To proceed cautiously or stealthily, steal; also, come, go; of a gimlet: bore (into wood); (b) fig. of persons: to come, go; ben cropen in, be come in, be arrived or created; ben cropen in (into) age, be advanced in age; ~ from, ~ out of, depart from (sth.), escape from; ~ in, enter (someone's mind or heart), get into (a state or condition); ~ in the ground, ~ into erthe (grave), die, be buried; ~ in our kin (kind), etc., enter the human race, be incarnated; (c) fig. of things: to come, go; of time: pass; ~ awei, go away, be lost; ~ in, enter (sth.), mingle with; of age: advance; ~ on, come upon (sb.); ~ out of, go out of (sth.); also, originate from.
Med. Of a disease: to spread; of gout: move from joint to joint; of a wound or sore: become larger; creping gout.
Of a plant: to spread, creep, climb.
To be twitching with pain or discomfort, have one's flesh crawl.
?To be moved, waver [prob. an error in translation].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1330(?a1300) KAlex.(Auch)348 : Þis venim crepeþ vnder mi ribbe, No may Ich no lenger libbe.
  • Note: Antedates sense 5.--per JR
    Note: Add gloss: "of poison: to advance slowly, spread imperceptibly by degrees." --per MLL
  • c1400(?a1300) KAlex.(LdMisc 622)3058 : His oste wriʒed þe cee and þe londe, Ʒut he crepe vnder ʒoure honde.
  • Note: Belongs to sense 4.(b).--per JR

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1475Sidrak & B.(Lnsd 793)199/3287 : In þat time þe childe is bore..alle þe ioyntes þat weren open In þe womman aʒein ben cropen.
  • a1475Sidrak & B.(Lnsd 793)199/3292 : If a man his finger drowh, þe ioynte wole open and vndo, and siþen crepe aʒein þerto.
  • a1475Sidrak & B.(LdMisc 559)314/4328 : The ayre is thyk and moyste also and woll vngo and crepe [Lnsd 793: close] þerto.
Note: New sense, 'to contract or close up; p.ppl. cropen, closed.' Cp. DOST crepe v., sense 2b.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?c1400(1379) *Treat.Uroscopy (Roy 17.D.1)f.65va (2.8) : Þorogh mortificacioun o þe vesie, i. whan þe vesie is so contracte, i. so cronclide & shronkelide & cropen togeder os a schronclid purse..he is noʒt of myght for to kepe ne wiþholde þe water wiþin hym til tyme.
Note: Additional quot. Editor's gloss: ~ togeder 'crept together, shrank'. See new sense in Suppl. Mat. (draft) directly above: 'to contract or close up'.