Definition of creak in English:



[no object]
  • 1(of an object or structure, typically a wooden one) make a harsh, high-pitched sound when being moved or when pressure or weight is applied.

    ‘the stairs creaked as she went up them’
    with complement ‘the garden gate creaked open’
    • ‘I heard the gates creak open and felt a slight shove to move forward.’
    • ‘The gates creaked open just enough to allow the three riders to enter in single file.’
    • ‘Under her feet, she could hear the wooden stairs creak.’
    • ‘It may have been the sound of timbers creaking as the temperature dropped.’
    • ‘A moment later they were riding up in the elevator that creaked ominously as it moved.’
    • ‘My large ears twitched as I listened to the sound of the wood creaking inside of this house.’
    • ‘The wooden frame creaked and settled as she sank down into the middle of the bowl.’
    • ‘As he rounded onto his block, he heard the sound of the swings creaking at the park.’
    • ‘I heard gates creak open as I hugged a pillow to my ears.’
    • ‘I'm caught unawares as the wooden door creaks open, and a large man lurches into the room, his belly swaying with every step he takes.’
    • ‘The wooden door creaked as it opened and Matthew found himself staring at it for no reason.’
    • ‘Both women looked up at the sound of the library door creaking open.’
    • ‘The large wooden doors of the gate creaked and groaned as they slowly swung from their resting place.’
    • ‘The train of merchant's wagons continued slowly into the gate, their wooden axles creaking loudly in the hot stagnant air.’
    • ‘As she made her way up the ladder, the wooden frame creaked loudly.’
    • ‘Beneath her, the wooden floors creaked and her shoes sounded softly in the silence.’
    • ‘The metal door groaned and creaked before sliding open with a long screech.’
    • ‘The green gates creaked open as uncle pushed with all his might against it.’
    • ‘Listening closely she could hear the branches of the trees moving and creaking in the wind.’
    • ‘They started to walk down stairs, the wooden stairs creaked under that amount of weight.’
    squeak, groan, grate
    View synonyms
  • 2Show weakness or frailty under strain.

    ‘the system started to creak’
    • ‘The electoral system is creaking and badly in need of change.’
    • ‘Police have warned they have a duty to stop people en route if the country begins to creak under the strain.’
    • ‘That system is also creaking to a halt, with plunging enlistments and retentions.’
    • ‘First, the EU's creaking institutions will be under severe strain as they try to deal with the sudden intake.’
    • ‘Finally, the eccentric and creaking Greek justice system has accepted that Andy and his fellow enthusiasts are innocent.’
    • ‘Any change in a system that is creaking from old age has to be welcomed.’
    • ‘It may creak a little under the strain of me getting into it each night, but other than that, it's a silent bed.’
    • ‘We have a court system that creaks under antiquated traditions, and distinct reluctance to change them.’
    • ‘The figures are the latest in a series of revelations which have led to claims that the Scottish criminal justice system is creaking at the seams.’
    • ‘Already, by 1963, the dollar had begun to creak under the strains of deepening economic contradictions.’
    • ‘With the mobile phone networks creaking under the strain, I couldn't locate any friends, and wandered off home.’
    • ‘Our old format was creaking under the strain of multiple postings every day.’
    • ‘Systems that had been slapped together creak, then crash.’
    • ‘Labour courts and arbitration systems are creaking under the weight of new cases.’
    • ‘Police sources told the Evening Press the ten-year-old system was creaking under the strain as aging equipment fails.’
    • ‘The healthcare system groaned and creaked under the rising strain.’
    • ‘It's every bit as chaotic and mad as London in its way, with a creaking, uncomfortably, rattly Metro system.’
    • ‘Daily trials on a creaking and antiquated public transport and roads system is just a part of it.’
    • ‘The main election issue is reform of Japan's creaking pension system.’


  • A harsh scraping or squeaking sound.

    ‘the creak of a floorboard broke the silence’
    • ‘A creak in the floorboard echoed throughout the house, but there was no sign that anyone had heard anything.’
    • ‘A creak sounded, and a rope ladder unfurled from an unseen source.’
    • ‘A slight creak echoed in that same side street and a dark figure ascended from the ground as if rising from the dead.’
    • ‘A high-pitched creak sounded, and I craned my neck as far as I could to see what this seaman looked like.’
    • ‘A muffled creak sounded from outside the walls of Feye's bedroom.’
    • ‘When he was still awake he thought he heard the faint creak of a floorboard, he immediately filed that away as Kira getting her midnight snack.’
    • ‘There was a creak in the floorboards when he stood up.’
    • ‘The only sound was the occasional creak of the weathered ropes straining to hold out weight.’
    • ‘The heavy fabric blocked the sound of the thunder, and a creak outside my door was now audible.’
    • ‘Every morning his landlady heard him walk to the door to pick up his newspaper; her ears had grown accustomed to the creaks in the floorboards.’
    • ‘The girls fell silent as they heard a creak on the floorboards outside.’
    • ‘He became a little worried because he heard a light creak in the floorboards.’
    • ‘I was brought out of my reverie by the creak of a floorboard behind me.’
    • ‘He didn't hear the creak of heavy footsteps on the basement stairs.’
    • ‘When he heard the creak in the floorboards he didn't even bother to look up.’
    • ‘A creak in the floorboards caused his sharp eyes to search the dark deck quickly.’
    • ‘There was a second of hesitation, possibly as Meghan was preparing for another punch, and then a creak and a thud.’
    • ‘My sister went on to describe noises she'd been hearing, the regular old creaks and cracks that are heard in all houses and she'd also heard a clicking sound.’
    • ‘I could hear the pops, the creaks, the rumbling of the ice underfoot and all around.’
    • ‘There was a creak of a floorboard, and the hairs on the back of her neck rose.’
    grate, grating, creak, creaking, grind, grinding, jar, jarring, rasp, rasping, scratch, scratching, rub, rubbing, squeak, squeaking, screech, screeching
    View synonyms


Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘croak’): imitative.