1. to behave sycophantically, to act the toady; thus crawler n.; crawling adj.
|Works (1801) V 411: To crawl in courtes is bondage harde! [...] Yet some, for pleasure of rewarde, Wi flatter.‘New-Old Ballads’|
|Queen of the South 134: It was you as said the gentleman was a blackguard and a crawling new chum.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Mar. 12/1: The tar said, ‘O Lord, save us poor beggars afloat. I never asked anything from you in my life before, and if you help us this time I’ll never trouble you again. I’m not a going to be like those crawling Methodies, bothering you every day.’.|
|‘All Unyun Men’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 234: [He] Wuz known among the Unyuns / As ‘Crawlin’ Jack the Scab’.|
|Powers That Prey 170: If they see ’t ye mean business they’ll crawl, but if ye monkey with ’em, they’ll t’row ye down.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 28/2: The grocer tendered humble apologies, told the story of the back debt, and did a general crawl.|
|Canker at the Heart 8: There’s a lot o’ dirty dogs [...] what creep and crawl into Corp’ration jobs. I ain’t never crawled, nor I never will.|
|Clicking of Cuthbert 87: ‘Crawled?’ he said. ‘Well, he didn’t actually lick my boots [...] but he did everything short of that.’.|
|Sheepmates 65: Topton [...] had very nearly been given the management of a station, but a ‘crawling cow’ had spoilt his chances with the company.|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 634: Ain’t you acting a bit previous, as if I was going to come crawling around?Judgement Day in|
|Mating Season 26: I told him I wouldn’t have more to do with him unless he [...] stopped crawling to those aunts of his.|
|Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 129: She said she’d die if she ever married a bloke as worked in an office and who crawled around his boss because he wanted to get on.‘The Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale’|
|Burden of Proof 44: Wolfe was an unyielding tough uncompromising boy. He didn’t crawl.|
|Trainspotting 75: The trick was tae indulge the radge withoot being seen tae be too much ay an obviously crawling sap.|
2. (US campus) to renege on a statement.
|Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 13: crawl v. 1. To go back on one’s bet. 2. To take back what one has said.|
|Inside Facts on Pugilism 132: Twenty-fi’ if me backer don’t crawl.|
see arse crawl under arse n.