transitive - peep VS peek

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  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Please give us a specific example that you would like to ask about, Харбин Хэйлунцзян.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    You gave us a link to google ngrams. Surely you have a particular sentence taken from there?
     
    You gave us a link to google ngrams. Surely you have a particular sentence taken from there?
    Sure, I could have picked one of them. The problem is that I might have picked some example that you would consider of inferior quality. The mass of examples is what surprised me.
    Ok! Here you go - the first in the readout:

    The Unwilling Accomplice (The Unwilling #5)
    He peeked his head out of his room and saw the hallway was empty.
     
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    alexl57

    Member
    Serbo-Croatian
    "Peek one's head" is more common than "peep one's head", as you have discovered. And there seems to be no noun other than "head" being used in this pattern, so I'm more inclined to call this an idiom than a transitive use of the verb. Both "peek" and "peep" are essentially intransitive, both meaning "to look in a furtive way". Perhaps that is why only "his/her/etc. head" collocates with them. So, this is just one of those little quirks that languages tend to have.
    The truth is out there. :)
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The American Heritage Dictionary's "He peeped his head through the door" (post 1) sounds odd to me. "His head" seems superfluous: You can't peep with your foot.

    More generally, "peep" tends to sound BrE to AmE speakers, while "peek" sounds AmE to me (I speak BrE and don't use "peek").
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I rely on the WordReference dictionary. It lists 3 sets of definitions, from 3 online dictionaries (whose names are shown): an AE one, an unabridged AE one, and a BE one.

    There, all 3 definitions of "peek" include "peep". So the two words are very close in meaning. Also, all definitions are intransitive (no object).

    For me "peep" includes the concept that the verb's subject (the peeper) is hidden. "Peek" does not.
     
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