peep

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See also: peeps, Peep, and PEEP

English

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Pronunciation

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  • (UK) enPR: pēp, IPA(key): /piːp/
  • (US) IPA(key): /pip/, [pʰip]
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -iːp

Etymology 1

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From Middle English pepen. Compare Dutch piepen (peep), German Low German piepen (to peep), German piepen and pfeifen, all probably onomatopoeic.

Noun

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peep (plural peeps)

  1. A short, soft, high-pitched sound, as made by a baby bird.
  2. A feeble utterance or complaint.
    I don't want to hear a peep out of you!
  3. The sound of a steam engine's whistle; typically shrill.
    • 2001, Rev. W. Awdry, Thomas the tank engine collection : a unique collection of stories from the railway series - p. 177 - Egmont Books, Limited, Aug 15, 2001:
      "Peep, peep," said Edward, "I'm ready."
      "Peep, peep, peep," said Henry, "so am I."
  4. (birdwatching, colloquial) A sandpiper or other small wader.
Translations
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Verb

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peep (third-person singular simple present peeps, present participle peeping, simple past and past participle peeped)

  1. To make a soft, shrill noise like a baby bird.
  2. To speak briefly with a quiet voice.
Translations
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Etymology 2

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From Middle English pepen, variant of piken.

Verb

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peep (third-person singular simple present peeps, present participle peeping, simple past and past participle peeped)

  1. (intransitive) To look, especially through a narrow opening, or while trying not to be seen or noticed.
    The man peeped through the small hole.
    • 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter I, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      And it was while all were passionately intent upon the pleasing and snake-like progress of their uncle that a young girl in furs, ascending the stairs two at a time, peeped perfunctorily into the nursery as she passed the hallway—and halted amazed.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond [] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw, peeping around the massive silver epergne that almost obscured him from her view, that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.
  2. (intransitive, dated) To begin to appear; to look forth from concealment; to make the first appearance.
    • 1675, John Dryden, Aureng-zebe: A Tragedy. [], London: [] T[homas] N[ewcomb] for Henry Herringman, [], published 1676, →OCLC, (please specify the page number):
      When flowers first peeped, and trees did blossoms bear.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 14, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC, page 70:
      They first caught crabs and quohogs in the sand; grown bolder, they waded out with nets for mackerel; more experienced, they pushed off in boats and captured cod; and at last, launching a navy of great ships on the sea, explored this watery world; put an incessant belt of circumnavigations round it; peeped in at Behring’s Straits; and in all seasons and all oceans declared everlasting war with the mightiest animated mass that has survived the flood; most monstrous and most mountainous!
  3. (transitive, slang) To take a look at; check out.
    Did you peep that video I sent you?
    • 2019 December, Justin Blackburn, The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues, page 96:
      Peep me, I'm fabulous, I work with the hardest working women at Kay Jeweler's, selling the finest jewels to the richest people.
  4. (transitive, African-American Vernacular, slang) To see, uncover.
    • 2006, Noire [pseudonym], Thug-A-Licious: An Urban Erotic Tale, New York, N.Y.: One World, Ballantine Books, →ISBN, page 58:
      A lot of females were hesitant about getting with Pimp. He had a hard edge to him that made it impossible not to peep his cruel nature.
Hypernyms
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Translations
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Noun

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peep (plural peeps)

  1. A quick look or glimpse, especially a furtive one.
    • 1907, Robert W. Service, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, in The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses:
      I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside. / I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; [] then the door I opened wide.
    • 1990 October 5, “Souter plans to get right down to work”, in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, volume 85, number 154, section 1, page 14:
      He did manage a brief peep at the building’s Rotunda as he called on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July.
    • 1970, Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, page 30:
      But at last Mr. Fox gave the order to stop. "I think," he said, "we had better take a peep upstairs now and see where we are. I know where I want to be, but I can't possibly be sure we're anywhere near it."
  2. The first partial appearance of something; a beginning to appear.
    the peep of day
  3. A peepshow.
    • 1981 December 1, Freddie Greenfield, “Insulting Prison Porn”, in Gay Community News, volume 12, number 20, page 11:
      A boring lusterless attempt at pornography, a niche above the racks of pulp pocketbooks sold in the front room of peeps.
Translations
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Derived terms

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Etymology 2: Terms derived from the verb or noun peep

Etymology 3

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Uncertain; perhaps variant of pip.

Noun

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peep (plural peeps)

  1. (obsolete) A spot on a die or domino.
Synonyms
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  • (spot on die or domino): pip

Etymology 4

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Back-formation from peeps, a shortened form of people.

Noun

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peep (plural peeps)

  1. (British, slang) A person.