Etymology
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crawl (v.)

c. 1200, creulen, "to move slowly by drawing the body across the ground," from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse krafla "to claw (one's way)," or Danish kravle, from the same root as crab (n.1). If there was an Old English *craflian, it has not been recorded.

Meaning "advance slowly" is from mid-15c. Sense of "have a sensation as of something crawling on the flesh" is from c. 1300. Related: Crawled; crawler; crawling.

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crawl (n.)

1818, "act of crawling," from crawl (v.). In the swimming sense from 1903; the stroke was developed by Frederick Cavill, well-known English swimmer who emigrated to Australia and modified the standard stroke of the day after observing South Seas islanders. So called because the swimmer's motion in the water resembles crawling. Meaning "slow progress from one drinking place to another" is by 1883.

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night-crawler (n.)

"large earthworm caught at night to be used as bait by anglers," by 1896, American English, from night (n.) + agent noun from crawl (v.).

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scrawl (v.)
1610s, "write or draw untidily," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Middle English scrawlen "spread out the limbs, sprawl" (early 15c.), which possibly is an alteration of sprawlen (see sprawl (v.)) or crawl (v.). Related: Scrawled; scrawling. The noun is recorded from 1690s, from the verb. Meaning "bad handwriting" is from 1710.
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sneak (v.)

1550s (implied in sneakish), perhaps from some dialectal survival of Middle English sniken "to creep, crawl" (c. 1200), related to Old English snican "to sneak along, creep, crawl," from Proto-Germanic *sneikanan, which is related to the root of snake (n.). Of feelings, suspicions, etc., from 1748. Transitive sense, "to partake of surreptitiously" is from 1883. Related: Sneaking. Sneak-thief is recorded by 1859; sneak-preview is from 1938.

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slink (v.)
Old English slincan "to creep, crawl" (of reptiles), from Proto-Germanic *slinkan (source also of Swedish slinka "to glide," Dutch slinken "to shrink, shrivel;" related to sling (v.)). Of persons, attested from late 14c. Related: Slinked; slinking.
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formication (n.)
crawling sensation as of ants on the skin, 1707, from Latin formicationem (nominative formicatio), noun of action from formicare "to crawl like ants," from formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)).
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woodwork (n.)
"article made of wood," 1640s, from wood (n.) + work (n.). Especially applied to wooden details of a house, hence figurative use of to come (or crawl) out of the woodwork, by 1960, suggestive of cockroaches, etc.
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hunker (v.)
"to squat, crouch," 1720, Scottish, of uncertain origin, possibly a nasalized borrowing of a Scandinavian word such as Old Norse huka "to crouch," hoka, hokra "to crawl." Hunker down, Southern U.S. dialectal phrase, is from 1902, popularized c. 1965; in this use the verb is perhaps from northern British hunker "haunch." Related: Hunkered; hunkering.
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slick (v.)
Old English -slician (in nigslicod "newly made sleek"), from Proto-Germanic *slikojan, from base *slikaz (source also of Old Norse slikr "smooth," Old High German slihhan "to glide," German schleichen "to creep, crawl, sneak," Dutch slijk "mud, mire"), from PIE *sleig- "to smooth, glide, be muddy," from root *(s)lei- "slimy" (see slime (n.)). Related: Slicked; slicking.
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