Community Web Version Now Available
Vadim
'Insects' and 'creepy-crawlies'. Are these words synonyms? Original text with 'creepy- crowlies:' Some people were disappointed that there were so few insects on the list. But Ben Hoare, features editor of BBC Wildlife, welcomed the hedgehog's victory. He said, "All the other insects are very important, but I'm not sure they make a good national symbol. Fur and feat hers tend to win over creepy-crawlies." Original PDF https://yadi.sk/i/fqTMWRMcnnKdLFur and feat tend to win over creepy-crawlies.
Jan 26, 2016 5:52 PM
8
0
Answers · 8
Not really. 'Creepy crawlies' are things that creep and crawl, which also includes spiders, woodlice and other things that aren't insects. We also don't tend to use 'creepy crawlies' for things that fly rather than crawl - I doubt if many people would use this term to describe a dragonfly, for example. However, the main difference is the register of language, and the contexts in which you'd use these words. 'Creepy crawlies' is a very informal and imprecise word, which also has an emotional association, probably suggesting a level of dislike. 'Insect', on the other hand, is a completely neutral word which has an exact scientific definition, and which can be used in any context, even formal ones.
January 26, 2016
It all depends where you are on the scale between technical and casual, formal written English and slightly childlike English, etc. "Creepy-crawlies" is not a formal word. I'm not entirely sure I will find it in the dictionary. (It's there. And it's described as "informal.") "Creepy-crawlies" is a slightly childish word. It applies to any small thing that creeps or crawls. It means something the speaker doesn't like. The speaker thinks they are repugnant (formal word) or icky (informal word). The speaker is intentionally not being precise. Creepy-crawlies! Ick! I don't even want to know what they are! I'm going to look away! I certainly am not going to to count the legs and tell you whether it is an insect or spider! Creepy-crawlies would include true insects, but also spiders, scorpions, earthworms, centipedes, millipedes, slugs, and quite possibly small frogs, small snakes, lizards, newts, etc. And there are insects that are not "creepy-crawlies." Butterflies are insects, but they are beautiful and people like them, so they are not "creepy-crawlies." Ben Hoare is saying that people like watching cute, small mammals (with fur) and birds (with feathers). Many people are repelled by all the cold-blooded animals. On Facebook, people don't post adorable pictures of cute scorpions doing funny things.
January 26, 2016
I will add one thing to the other two answers, which I agree with. Someone might say they "have the creepy crawlies," which would mean they have a feeling of dislike for insects/small bugs/spiders/etc.
January 26, 2016
Well, 'insect' is the proper way of saying it though 'bug' is a little more natural. 'creepy-crawlies' is very informal and only really used when talking to children.
January 26, 2016
Vadim
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English