Definition of peek in English:



  • 1 Look quickly, typically in a furtive manner.

    ‘faces peeked from behind the curtains’
    • ‘I stayed behind after classes were over for the day and peeked into the detention room.’
    • ‘She peeked at me from behind her fingers and laughed miserably.’
    • ‘She crouched behind a tent, peeking out to see if there was any way through.’
    • ‘All we need is to be allowed to peek behind the curtain.’
    • ‘I'm glad our wedding photographer didn't make us peek out coyly from behind a tree or some such nonsense.’
    • ‘From there she peeked into the family room, where the prince was sleeping soundly.’
    • ‘Lynn walked right on by, peeking into Jessie's room to make sure she was alone.’
    • ‘Judy bit her lip, opened the door to the operating room just a crack, and quickly peeked inside.’
    • ‘Then a little blond head peeked out from behind the door and wobbled toward me.’
    • ‘He peeks behind the curtains, an amateurish move on his part, but nothing too bad.’
    • ‘He quickly peeked around the corner of the kitchen to check that he hadn't been heard.’
    • ‘She just wanted to peek inside quickly to see who it was, then she would gladly leave with Josh.’
    • ‘Leanne called softly, walking throughout the house, peeking into all the rooms.’
    • ‘He peeks inside a room and then enters, turning on the lights.’
    • ‘She peeks under the wrapping quickly then sets it back.’
    • ‘She quickly peeked into the pot and gave a disappointed sigh before rushing to open the door.’
    • ‘On my way back, I paused by the open door of the spare room, peeking into it with interest.’
    • ‘I wait for Diania to wake and dress, then I slip out of the storage facility and, still twitching, peek out into the room.’
    • ‘Ms. Robbs cracked the door of her son's room, peeking in at his sleeping face.’
    • ‘Griffin quickly peeked into the tent and saw the armoury, he was smiling from ear to ear.’
    peep, have a peep, have a peek, take a secret look, spy, take a sly look, take a stealthy look, sneak a look, glance, cast a brief look, look hurriedly, look, peer
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    1. 1.1Protrude slightly so as to be just visible.
      ‘his socks were so full of holes his toes peeked through’
      • ‘They did, and when I walked, the tips of the toes peeked out beneath the folds of silk.’
      • ‘Baby emperor penguins peek out from pouches just over their fathers' feet.’
      • ‘The toes of her little Cinderella feet peeked out from under the frills of her nightgown.’
      • ‘Huge shoals of orange anthias sway in and out of the colourful soft corals while honeycomb moray eels peek out from holes in the coral gap.’
      • ‘The trees loomed high above their heads, the moon peeking through the small clearings from the leaves.’
      • ‘Moonlight peeked in through the gaping hole in the roof and the stars winked down at them.’
      • ‘I looked down into her face: teeth peeking through in a slight grin and muscles locked with determination.’
      • ‘The distant rays of the sun had just begun to peek slightly over the horizon.’
      • ‘She was covered head to toe in mud and bits of vegetation peeked out of her wind blown ponytail.’
      • ‘He noticed one of her toes peeking out of a shoe - covered with dust, just like his own bare toes.’
      • ‘The sun was threatening to peek over the horizon, and Darion reluctantly stood to go.’
      • ‘His hair cascaded down his face, obscuring his eyes but allowing the slightest hint of a frown to peek through.’
      • ‘Ads already peek up at successful putters from inside golf holes.’
      • ‘Roots begin to creep out from the bottom of the pot around drainage holes or they peek through the top soil.’
      • ‘From the street, the new interventions poke and peek out slyly above rooftops and through gaps in the street frontage.’
      • ‘Use scissors to trim the sticks so that the candies peek out above the edge of the cake.’
      appear, appear partly, appear slowly, show, come into sight, come into view, make an appearance, put in an appearance, present itself, present oneself, become visible, emerge, issue, peep, peer out, surface, loom, show its face, show one's face, come to light, spring up, pop up
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  • A quick and typically furtive look.

    ‘a peek through the window showed that the taxi had arrived’
    • ‘Every now and then he heard a mumble or something else that caused him to sneak a quick peek at her.’
    • ‘Even with a quick peek into a guest bathroom, he'll pause for a second to straighten the bottles of liquid hand soap.’
    • ‘She took a quick peek on the other side of the street.’
    • ‘One art lesson Darren had a quick peek at what she was doing.’
    • ‘I rarely got stuck, but when I did, a quick peek in the answer book enabled me to work backwards.’
    • ‘What I'm trying to say here is, you might want to take a quick peek at his column if you haven't already.’
    • ‘He took a quick peek at his friend, that love sick look splattered oh so plainly across his face.’
    • ‘‘But I was dying to find our more, so seeing the lid was missing I thought I'd risk a quick peek,’ he said.’
    • ‘It started to rain inside the classroom although (after a quick peek at the window) it was sunny outside.’
    • ‘It's worth staying there to experience the sheer extravagance at first hand, or you could, of course, just ask the friendly reception staff for a quick peek.’
    • ‘I took this chance to take a quick peek at her name tag.’
    • ‘There are two trailers on the website that provide a quick peek at the movie.’
    • ‘A quick peek at his watch showed the hour steadily approaching two.’
    • ‘As I walk in I notice that the previous name has not been removed so I take a quick peek.’
    • ‘After a quick peek toward the supervisor, I looked at the aircraft and instantly was sickened.’
    • ‘I take a quick peek at the card to my left and read the name.’
    • ‘Smiling, she got out of bed, taking a quick peek out the window; it was still dark.’
    • ‘He dared to sneak a quick peek at the judge and saw that there were tears in her eyes.’
    • ‘He glanced at his wife - a quick, despondent peek - and then looked at me pitifully.’
    • ‘He planned to take a quick peek and size up the situation.’
    secret look, sly look, stealthy look, sneaky look, peep, glance, glimpse, brief look, hurried look, quick look, look, peer
    gander, look-see, squint, eyeful
    dekko, butcher's, shufti
    jack nohi
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The word meaning ‘look quickly or furtively’ and ‘a quick or furtive look’ is peek, not peak: the sun peeks out only intermittently; a sneak peek at what's in store. In some contexts, this error is very common: for example, almost a third of citations for the expression a sneak peek in the Oxford English Corpus are for the incorrect spelling (a sneak peak)


Late Middle English pike, pyke, of unknown origin.