Green’s Dictionary of Slang

crawl v.2

1. (US) to leave quietly, stealthily.

[US]O. Wister diary 18 July in Wister Owen Wister Out West (1958) 35: The would-be squatters have crawled.

2. (US) to mount a horse; thus crawl off v., to dismount.

[US]Remington in Harper’s Mag. Dec. 75/1: Anything and everything is his work, from the negotiation for the sale of five thousand head of cattle to the ‘busting’ of a bronco, which no one else can ‘crawl’ [DA].
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 18: No rider ever approached a rancher’s dwelling [...] without receiving such invitations as, ‘Light an’ line yo’ flue with chuck,’ ‘Crawl off an’ feed yo’ tapeworm’.
[US]Great Bend Trib. (KS) 2 July 3/1: If you’ve ever been told to ‘crawl off and feed yo’ tape-worm’ you know what it’s like to visit an old-time western ranch.

3. to assault.

[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Jess’ in Sandburrs 20: A gent don’t have to have no reason for crawling you.
[US]DN III 76: Crawl, [...] to whip. [...] The professor crawled him for cutting recitations.
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 126: He kick’d me one day, and I crawls ’im.
[US] in DARE.
[US]T. Wolfe Right Stuff 65: Don’t cross that line or I’ll crawl you.

4. to spend a night moving from one nightclub, bar or public house to the next, thus crawling n. [abbr. SE pub-crawl].

[[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘Farewell and Adieu!’ in Naval Occasions 144: And I’ve heard her talking like a Mother to a rorty Midshipman – a silly young ass who was drinking like a fish and wasting his money and health pub-crawling].
[US]Swinging Syllables n.p.: Crawling – Nightclubbing, moving from hole to hole.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 215: We normally started local, crawled our way into town, then went with the flow.

5. (US, also do the crawl) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 341: Whoops, Whoops! Whoops, my dear! / Can you tell me if she’s queer? / Would she learn to do the crawl? / Would she go to balls and all? / Would she dance the can-can-can / For her great big strong he-man?
[US]Z.N. Hurston Seraph on the Suwanee (1995) 899: Why didn’t you pray last night while you were crawling that barrel of whores?
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 192: You ain’t never gave no dark-skinned boy a tumble, got to be real light to crawl up on you.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.

In phrases

crawl someone’s collar (v.) (also crawl all over) [orig. US milit.]

(US campus) to reprimand, to criticize.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 16: crawl one’s collar Upbraid, scold.
[US](con. 1914) S.J. Simonsen Soldier Bill 17: The next day he was rather dopey at drilling and the sergeant crawled all over him.
crawl someone’s frame (v.) [frame n.1 (1)]

(US) to give someone a beating or thrashing.

[Aus]Capricornian (Rockhampton) 6 Feb. 30: Strike me bandy [...] I’ll crawl up your neck when the race is over.
[US] DN III 79: He crawled his frame.
[US]‘Commander’ Clear the Decks! 100: Old Man will crawl your frame if he sees so much as a sailor cross it.
[US]E. O’Neill letter 15 Sept. in Bogard & Bryer Sel. Letters (1988) 317: I’ll bet you’ll have a large section of infuriated fairies crawling your frame for that one.
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act III: And every time dey’d crawl my frame wid de same old argument.
in PADS (No. 14) 78: Crawl your frame. To give one a beating or a thrashing.
crawl someone’s hump (v.)

see under hump n.1

SE in slang uses

In phrases

could crawl under a snake’s belly

see under snake n.1

crawl out

see separate entries.

what’s crawling on you? [ref. is to lice]

what’s the matter?

[Aus]Townsville Daily Bull. (Qld) 10 Aug. 16/2: ‘What’s crawlin’ on yer?’ says I.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 197: What’s crawling on you, brother?
[Aus](con. 1940s) ‘David Forrest’ Last Blue Sea 55: ‘What’s crawling on you?’ [...] ‘It’s me that’s stuck with him.’.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 31: And what the blazes is crawlin’ on you?