Definition of seep in US English:



  • no object, with adverbial of direction (of a liquid) flow or leak slowly through porous material or small holes.

    ‘water began to seep through the soles of his boots’
    • ‘Her television and video exploded last week as water seeped into the house.’
    • ‘Water seeping into exposed pores allows for frost action.’
    • ‘He couldn't even sense the cold and wetness seeping through his clothes.’
    • ‘Water is said to be seeping into the basement and the foundation may well be threatened.’
    • ‘Water was seeping through the crack in the windshield.’
    • ‘Lee got irritated as she saw blood seeping out of a gash on her hand.’
    • ‘He knew he was bleeding by the wetness seeping down his leg, but he lacked the will to check out his injury.’
    • ‘He later realised liquid was seeping from her mouth, and called an ambulance at about 3pm.’
    • ‘Water seeped from ruptured pipes and corrugated iron dangled from the roofs of the damaged shops.’
    • ‘A popular tourist attraction at Mistley has been damaged by water seeping into the walls.’
    • ‘When you remove the ring after completing the layering you'll have a pretty pool of green oil seeping out from the edge.’
    • ‘I have lived in rented accommodation where we welcomed the rain seeping through the ceiling because it discouraged the rats.’
    • ‘Water seeped into deep holes he dug, enough to quench thirst for another few days.’
    • ‘Blood had seeped through the makeshift bandage, soaking it through.’
    • ‘Oil has seeped into the water table, and air pollution is a serious problem.’
    • ‘Water seeped into her knee-high boots, and completely soaked her socks.’
    • ‘There was a large area of pinkish wet seeping through the bandage.’
    • ‘As the mist seeped back into the ground, the rest of the house slowly returned to normal.’
    • ‘Blood was slowly seeping out of his body.’
    • ‘The water seeped into the main bar area, covering about a 10 metre square space.’
    ooze, trickle, exude, drip, dribble, flow, issue, discharge, excrete, escape, leak, drain, bleed, sweat, well, leach, filter, percolate, permeate, soak
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North American
  • A place where petroleum or water oozes slowly out of the ground.

    • ‘Underwater seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa Monica Bay have deposited tar over area beaches.’
    • ‘The stable isotope composition of the first and second stages of the worm tube carbonates is similar to that of carbonates from modern petroleum seeps.’
    • ‘Crystal Bench is a wet meadow below a series of small seeps feeding an intermittent stream that is usually dry by August.’
    • ‘In seeps where the water supply is low, burros can consume the entire amounts.’
    • ‘Indeed, nearly all oil in seawater traces to natural seeps or to human activities creating diffuse releases.’
    • ‘On the continents seeps create brine pools, mud volcanoes and other local features.’
    • ‘A lone cottonwood on the plains might mark a hillside seep or a spot where the water table was within digging distance.’
    • ‘So far the oil from the birds has matched, but that oil has not matched any known natural seeps or other reported incidents.’
    • ‘Natural hydrocarbon seeps are another local pollution hazard.’
    • ‘As you drive west toward the coast, seeps and springs in the ravines form small braided waterfalls, full of their own monsoon song.’
    • ‘Subterranean species are difficult to monitor since they appear seasonally and sporadically in seeps and springs or may not appear even during high water flows.’
    • ‘There was evidence of intermittent spring seeps and seasonal streams nearby.’
    • ‘They breed in alpine areas, near seeps, streams, lakes, or wet meadows.’
    • ‘Some creeks or river reaches are fed by springs or groundwater seeps.’
    • ‘The valley's boggy areas, seeps, and ponderosa-pine forests are home to more than 500 kinds of plants.’
    • ‘The wetlands, its seeps and its marshes are jealousy maintained and protected from all disturbance.’


Late 18th century: perhaps a dialect form of Old English sīpian ‘to soak’.