Down to earth, or moving slowly, with the body close to the ground: “creep” and “crawl”

My travel through the English kr-words began with the verb creep, for I have for a long time tried to solve its mystery. On the face of it, there is no mystery. The verb has existed in Germanic from
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My travel through the English kr-words began with the verb creep, for I have for a long time tried to solve its mystery. On the face of it, there is no mystery. The verb has existed in Germanic from time immemorial, with cognates all over the place. Its Old English form was crēopan, with the past singular crēap, past plural crupon, and past participle cropen. Consequently, it was a so-called strong verb, which means that to form its principal parts, one had to change the root vowel, as we do in Modern Engl. rise—rose—risen and its likes. Later, creep joined the verbs sleep (slept, slept) and weep (wept, wept), each with its own long and complicated history, quite different from that of creep. A classic creeper. Once I saw the form cropen, I wondered whether Modern Engl. crop has anything to do with it. Crop “the produce harvested at one time” interested me most, though crop “a bird’s craw” seemed also worthy of a look. My search was rewarded by two opinions: the ancient root of creep,. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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