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What does the phrasel verb mean: "crawl round"?

I am conscious the verb "crawl" means to creep, move on the ground and the pronoun "round" here means action, movement, but what exactly does the phrase mean?


  • Like most (all?) two-word verbs, it can have a range of meanings, depending on how it's used.
    Here's an attempt to list some.

    1. Parallel to move round_
      Just as we understand when someone says
      _he walked round
      he swam round
      he ran round

      we can get over our surprise to understand the strange situation when the movement is a crawl.

    2. Parallel to pop round_
      In contexts such as
      _to tell me...

      unexpectedly out of the blue
      when he he was in town
      we understand that someone made a short journey to see us
      If we say He came round it's fairly neutral
      He popped round suggests informality or brevity
      He staggered round suggests that he was tired or drunk — whether or not he was literally staggering
      He swanned round suggests that he was unconcerned with others, even overcondident
      He crept round suggests that he was trying to be unnoticed, even secretive
      He crawled round suggets that he being (or pretending to be) humble and apologetic

    3. Parallel to come round (to my way of thinking)
      Again, substituting the verb crawl suggests not movement but attitude (real or pretended)
      He eventually crawled round and admitted I was right

    As a teacher, I found the term phrasal verb a useful label for a teaching item. But I'm not sure of its theoretical validity.
    English has a great many multi-word verbs consisting of


    Some teaching books use the term phrasal verb for all three. Others use terms such as prepositional verb and phrasal-prepositional verb.

    Whatever the terminology, the conceptual framework is useful when there's a problem,
    but most of the time the meaning is crystal clear.
    The problem for learners of English is when the phrase is an idiom — something with a meaning that isn't just an accumulation of the individual words in the phrase.
    For use teachers, the important items are when the whole phrase has an idiomatic meaning.
    I don't see this with crawl round. The comprehension problem is with the particle round.
    In my three uses it means

    1. 'in different directions'
    2. 'to where I was staying'
    3. 'to his senses'

    We could also use crawl round with 100% transparency.
    There was a rock in his way but he crawled round.

  • I think it means something like "to crawl in a circular motion from one side of something to another". Like if a baby crawled from one side of a picnic table to the other, or maybe all the way around. Or like if a very, very drunk person who was having difficulty walking crawled round a corner.

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