When you check in on foursquare to a place whose mayor is your friend, your check-in message is "Your friend X is the mayor here (and you're creeping on their turf)."

What does this expression mean?


In foursquare's game mechanics, the person with most checkins (in different days) to a venue is the venue's mayor. So, when you check in somewhere you're actually getting yourself close to steal that person's mayorship.

I understand that the word "turf" here has to be a slang for territory; my main doubt is about the word "creeping," then. Does the sentence means "you're on your way to steal your friend's mayorship" or "you're enjoying the benefits of hanging out on a place that is commanded by your friend"?

  • Don't play "foursquare", but shouldnt it say "you are creeping up on their turf"? Otherwise the sentence without up simply means you are on their turf, creeping - using that mode of locomotion instead of walking, running, crawling, etc... Jul 20, 2011 at 14:22
  • 1
    Nevermind - I see in sports "creeping on his turf" is used, where-as in literature "creeping up on his turf" is the norm... Jul 20, 2011 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


I cannot account for any peculiarities in foursquare's behavior, but "creeping on one's turf" means something similar to "invading their territory." Typically, one's turf is akin to their:

  • stomping ground
  • territory
  • neighborhood

Etymonline has this to say of turf:

Slang meaning "territory claimed by a gang" is attested from 1953 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; earlier it had a jive talk sense of "the street, the sidewalk" (1930s), which is attested in hobo use from 1899, and before that "the work and venue of a prostitute" (1860).

Creep, in this case, would mean that you are approaching the turf in a manner that could be deemed a threat or an attempted takeover. This, naturally, could be exactly what was intended. From my local dictionary:

creep — (of an unwanted and negative characteristic or fact) occur or develop gradually and almost imperceptibly

With regards to turf and the corresponding turf wars, creeping would be trying to sneak in and suddenly swipe the territory away.

  • Please see the edit, I tried to provide some more context to the sentence. Jul 20, 2011 at 14:41
  • @Rafael: Ah, I see. I added a bit about creep to my answer.
    – MrHen
    Jul 20, 2011 at 18:47

In this context creeping refers to "edging up to" or approaching. Turf is their area or property. As it's a foursquare check-in, it's not actually theirs :) But all it's saying is that you are on their property (but in this case it's said in a fun/competitive way).

Sometimes turf does not mean physical property but an area of responsibility so you may hear it in that context as well.


The former as your check-ins are doing the creeping not you. You and him do not need to be in contact whatsoever for this exchange to occur. The place is only commanded by your friend until you start creeping up in check-ins behind him faster then he can outpace you. At that point he may still be king but unless he can stall your "creep" by speeding up his own check-ins, he will not remain mayor. Your digital check ins are doing all the creeping virtually unless your brain works on GPS lol. Id say he's more accurately being creeped by your phone and his phone's connection together itself, through foresquare and the real stalker is the software developer.

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