I've often seen the phrase “sneak peek” on author websites when an author is offering a "sneak peek" of their story for newsletter subscribers. I just said "of", but that only confuses me further - is this correct?

I'm mostly confused between "from" and "at". I googled both of these, and they do appear in various places, but is there a more correct version? Take the example below:

Subscribe to get a sneak peek from my upcoming novel A Vast Sky


Subscribe to get a sneak peek at my upcoming novel A Vast Sky

Which one is more appropriate? And is there any way that "of" could take the place of the other two prepositions?


@GArthurBrown and @ColinFine Thank you for explaining how the preposition varies according to how "sneak peek" is being used. Very helpful and it answers my question. The sense I was using it in is probably better expressed as "sneak peek from my book" since it's supposed to be a preview taken from the book.


1 Answer 1


There is nothing wrong with either but the grammar requires they be given slightly different meanings.

In the first:

Get a sneak peek at...

Here peek is a nouned verb, and sneak functions as an adjective. If you are left alone in a publisher's office and sneakily get a peek at a manuscript, that is a sneak peek. Grammatically "sneaky peek" might be better.

Get a sneak peek from...

Here "sneak peek" is a compound noun meaning "an excerpt deliberately released by the publisher", i.e. it's a jargon term. "See our list of recently released sneak peeks!"

The dictionary says a "sneak peek" is "An opportunity to see something before it is officially available".

Since it's a jargon term, the word "sneak" is not modifying the noun "peek", rather the whole thing is the noun.

In reality what you are describing is the second sense, but you can use the first metaphorically to stimulate the delicious sense of sneakiness in the reader.

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    Might be worth mentioning that a sneak peek from the balcony is not the same usage (which I suspect might be what triggered the question). And I don't think you've mentioned sneak peek of my book. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 7:58
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    There are two meanings, @Lambie. You're right that the established idiom is a sneak peek at. But if I see a sneak peek from (a book or film etc) I see a transferred meaning where sneak peek has come to mean the excerpt itself, rather than viewing it.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 14:10
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    “get a sneak peek from the balcony” is not how most native speakers I know would express it… we would “sneak a peek from the balcony” to avoid confusion with the idiom. A sneak peek is a preview… any other usage is rare in my experience. You could get a sneak peek from a publisher though.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 14:10
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    Because it is jargon, you might wind up with the different constructions because in some cases people are using sneak peek in the way we'd conventionally use peek alone (which would take at), others using sneak peek to mean preview*(which would take *of) while in a few others they are using it to mean something like advance clip (which would take from). Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 15:37
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    @ColinFine "I see a transferred meaning where sneak peek has come to mean the excerpt itself" The dictionary supports this idea. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sneak-peek
    – Ben
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 16:12

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