"peek" vs. "peep"

An avid blogger and a regular visitor to this blog recently asked the difference between “peek” and “peep“. I seriously don’t know why English has so many minimal pairs. Why can’t every word be spelt differently? I wonder if other languages have the same phenomenon.

  • peek (v.) – to look briefly while trying to avoid being seen
  • peep (v.) – to look through something, usually a hole

Examples:

  1. Let’s take a peek at what’s happening next door but make sure they don’t see us.
  2. “No peeking, please. This is a test; you should’ve already studied that chapter long ago.”
  3. I heard a loud noise outside, so I peeked through the window and saw our neighbours arguing.
  4. Shh! I think there’s someone inside. I’m going to peep through the keyhole to find out.
  5. John peeped through the small opening in the fence when he heard a noise.

I’m going to take a peek to see if there are any peeping Toms in the vicinity. 🙂

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Posted on February 18, 2010, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thank you Sir. I now know that I’ll not peep but peek to see if there’s someone outside or if it is just the cat making a mess.. 🙂

  2. Sir in the mood of CNY would it be right to say:

    “The children took a peek to check whether their parents are watching them, before peeping through the angpow packet to see how much money was inside”.

    😛 tQ

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