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Cheap vs. Creep: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
Cheap refers to something low in price or lacking in quality, while creep is a slow movement, especially without attracting attention.

Key Differences

Cheap is a term often associated with low cost or perceived low quality, suggesting something is available at a price lower than expected. Creep, by contrast, is a verb that describes a slow and steady movement, often quiet or with the intention to go unnoticed.
When discussing value, cheap can imply an item is affordable or of inferior quality, which may not be intended to last long. Creep, however, has nothing to do with value and instead refers to the manner of movement, like a vine that creeps along a wall, growing slowly over time.
In the context of purchasing, cheap items may be sought after for their cost-effectiveness, but they can also carry a negative connotation, suggesting a compromise in quality or durability. Creep is unrelated to purchasing and would not be used in this context, as it instead might describe the gradual progression of something, such as darkness creeping across the sky at dusk.
Cheap can also indicate something is of little worth, like saying an action is "cheap" if it is petty or small-minded. Creep, divergently, can be used as a noun to label someone who exhibits creepy behavior, which is entirely separate from any notion of cost or value.
The usage of cheap and creep in common speech also highlights their differences; "cheap" can be used to describe deals or discounts, as in "cheap tickets," whereas "creep" can be used to describe someone's slow, stealthy movements or even gradual changes in situations or habits.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Adjective (or noun in informal usage)
Verb (or noun informally)


Low cost or low quality
To move slowly and quietly

Usage in Commerce

Refers to price or value
Not used in commerce


Can be positive (affordable) or negative (poor quality)
Can be neutral (movement) or negative (unpleasant person)

Association with Time

Immediate, relating to the cost at the time of purchase
Progressive, relating to the movement or change over time

Cheap and Creep Definitions


Of little worth; deserving minimal respect.
His apology felt cheap after everything he had done.


Move slowly and carefully to avoid being heard or noticed.
He tried to creep past the sleeping dog.


Low in price; costing little.
The cheap toys broke the same day they were bought.


A slow, gradual movement or change.
The shadow of the tree began to creep across the lawn as the sun set.


Achieved with little effort; easily obtained.
The victory felt cheap as the opposing team had their worst players on.


Grow along the ground or other surface by extending stems or branches.
Ivy will creep along the walls, covering them entirely over time.


Inferior in quality; not worth much.
She felt the materials used in the dress were cheap.


Behave in a stealthy or predatory manner.
She told her friend the guy at the bar was a creep.


Stingy or miserly.
He's too cheap to tip appropriately at restaurants.


Experience an unpleasant feeling of fear or disgust.
She felt a creep of unease as she walked down the deserted alley.


Relatively low in cost; inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive.


To move with the body close to the ground, as on hands and knees.


Is creep always related to movement?

Mostly, but it can also describe a slow change or someone with unpleasant behavior.

What does cheap mean?

Cheap can mean low in cost or of inferior quality.

Can cheap have a positive connotation?

Yes, cheap can be positive when it refers to affordability without loss of quality.

What is an example of creep in a sentence?

"The fog began to creep over the fields early in the morning."

What's the noun form of cheap?

Informally, it can be "cheapskate" for a person who doesn't like to spend money.

Are cheap items always a good deal?

Not if their quality is so low that they need frequent replacement.

Can plants creep?

Yes, when plants grow horizontally across a surface, it's called creeping.

What does creep mean as a verb?

As a verb, creep means to move slowly and carefully, usually to avoid detection.

How do you use cheap in a sentence?

You can say "I found a cheap flight to Miami."

Does creep only apply to physical movement?

No, it can also apply to the gradual development of non-physical things, like feelings or daylight.

Can creep be used in a non-literal sense?

Yes, it can describe a feeling, like "a sense of dread crept over her."

What's the noun form of creep?

It can refer to a creepy person or the act of creeping.

What's another word for cheap?

Inexpensive is a synonym that doesn't carry the negative connotations of cheap.

Can services be described as cheap?

Yes, services offered at a low cost can be described as cheap.

Can you use creep in a positive way?

It can be positive when referring to a desirable gradual process, like "creeping success."

Is "cheap" an absolute term?

No, what is considered cheap can vary greatly depending on context and perspective.

Does cheap always mean bad quality?

Not necessarily; it can just mean low in price, not always poor in quality.

Can cheap be used as a verb?

No, cheap is not commonly used as a verb.

What does it mean when someone is called a creep?

It means they're behaving in a way that makes others feel uncomfortable.

Is creeping a good strategy in games?

Yes, in games that require stealth, creeping can be an effective strategy.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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