Is there a name for a person who peeks?

I have tried looking up merriam-webster for the term "peeker" (as I expected this is a real word), to no avail.

  • 3
    What is the context? Peeking around a corner, peeking ahead in a novel, peeking in someone's window? An example sentence of how you intend to use the word would be helpful. Jan 11 '16 at 16:28
  • 1
    Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. In this case, a (very unusual) candidate word has already been proposed by OP, but unless we know the full context, it's not realistic to expect us to pronounce on whether or not that word might be "suitable". Jan 11 '16 at 16:43

You could call such a person a peeker because English would allow this usage, that is the adding of -er to most verbs to refer to a person who does the action of the verb.

However there is the word peeper which is often used. And we have an idiom about a peeping Tom. (Although I see now from your comment that you wish to avoid this word.)

You could get a better answer if you provided a sentence in which you wish to use 'peeker'.

  • thanx, i cannot really provide a sentence - the usage is within a program code (i'm a programmer). this makes a lot of sense though. Jan 11 '16 at 16:38
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    @EliranMalka As GoDucks said, it is a 'legal' creation of a word 'peeker', it's just that it doing so doesn't always work well with intransitive verbs (it works sometimes, like 'runner', but often not, like 'The wound oozes' -> '*the wound is an oozer', that just doesn't sound right, even though it is 'legal'.
    – Mitch
    Jan 11 '16 at 16:51
  • 1
    @Eliran: Note that to peek has a very specific sense in programming contexts. If you "peek" a keypress, for example, that's not the same as reading the keypress (because repeatedly peeking always returns the same keypress value, whereas each time you read, you get the next keypress). Given that background context, it would be perfectly acceptable to refer to a "peeker function" (that non-destructively reads some value). The same principle might apply to a process checking whether Schrodinger's cat is still alive, without "collapsing the wave function", by one interpretation. Jan 11 '16 at 16:52
  • @Mitch 'This wound is a real oozer. It just keeps on oozing away all day long' seems perfectly natural to me. Although I certainly did not intend to write a dissertation about which verbs one can add -er to, which is why I wrote most. Perhaps a more accurate qualifier would have been many. You are free to write a better answer.
    – GoDucks
    Jan 11 '16 at 16:56

"Peeker" isn't a word. One who peeks could be a "peeper."

  • 4
    Just because peeker isn't a particularly common usage doesn't make it not a "word". To peek and peep are different words, with different connotations. Jan 11 '16 at 16:27
  • @FumbleFingers i agree, a peeper has a fairly different connotation, which i'm trying to avoid (well, hopefully). Jan 11 '16 at 16:33
  • @FumbleFingers Actually, in this context both words mean the same thing: " To look slyly, or with the eyes half closed, or through a crevice; to peep." — Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913: Peek. Yes, I must admit that, for whatever reason, Peep is the preferred form in some contexts, esp. the lewder ones but I think it should be noted that peek is certainly not immune from any of Peep's connotations and the visa-versa also applies.
    – Tonepoet
    Jan 11 '16 at 17:19
  • @Tonepoet: In what context? I have closevoted specifically because OP hasn't provided an exact context in the question text. I've guessed in a comment what that context might be, and to my mind if my guess is correct then there's no possibility of treating peek/peep as "synonymous". Jan 11 '16 at 17:24
  • @FumbleFingers Ah, by that I mean Peep has meanings other than to look. It can be an onomatopoeia for the sounds a chick makes and peeper can be a synonym for eye but the only sense of the word where the two would be compared is taking a sly look, esp. through a crevice. That's all.
    – Tonepoet
    Jan 11 '16 at 17:33

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