\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : any of a family (Gruidae of the order Gruiformes) of tall wading birds superficially resembling the herons but structurally more nearly related to the rails
2 : any of several herons
3 : an often horizontal projection swinging about a vertical axis: such as
a : a machine for raising, shifting, and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead track
b : an iron arm in a fireplace for supporting kettles
c : a boom for holding a motion-picture or television camera


craned; craning

Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to raise or lift by or as if by a crane
2 : to stretch toward an object of attention craning her neck to get a better view

intransitive verb

1 : to stretch one's neck toward an object of attention I craned out of the window of my compartment— Webb Waldron
2 : hesitate


biographical name (1)
\ ˈkrān How to pronounce Crane (audio) \

Definition of Crane (Entry 3 of 5)

(Harold) Hart 1899–1932 American poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Crane (Entry 4 of 5)

Stephen 1871–1900 American writer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Crane (Entry 5 of 5)

Walter 1845–1915 English artist

Illustration of crane

Illustration of crane


crane 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crane

Synonyms: Verb

boost, elevate, heave, heft, heighten, hike, hoist, jack (up), lift, perk (up), pick up, raise, take up, up, uphold, uplift, upraise

Antonyms: Verb

drop, lower

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Examples of crane in a Sentence


We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Seeing that would have been reassuring … if the chair hadn’t fallen apart with the speed and force of hitting the end of the crane’s track. Breanne L. Heldman,, "I Was Shot From a 'Dangerous Weapon' on the Set of MTV's The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2," 29 Aug. 2019 During the past year, 15 cranes have been installed all along the dock at the shipyard. NBC News, "Photos indicate North Korea may be building submarine capable of launching nuclear missiles," 28 Aug. 2019 These grooves, Pierattini believes, were meant for cranes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Crane Has Been Perfect Since 700 B.C.," 27 Aug. 2019 The harbor dredging is nearly halfway done, and three bigger cranes are coming next year to Conley for the larger ships. Jon Chesto,, "Major milestone is reached as power line through Boston Harbor gets charged up," 22 Aug. 2019 Pictures posted by Denver Fire show a crane-like device jutting out of a gaping hole in the parking garage as a rescue official readies a ladder. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Two workers rescued as lift breaks through parking garage in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood," 17 Aug. 2019 Whooping cranes winter in Texas on a chain of barrier islands. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration Finds a New Target: Endangered Species," 16 Aug. 2019 Imagine you are blindfolded, with your hand on the toy crane’s joystick, and a friend is preparing to give you instructions. Ryan P. Dalton, Scientific American, "How We Are Wired for Smell," 13 Aug. 2019 More equipment and trucks arrived at the construction site on Monday, including multiple aerial crane trucks being used to drill into the ground and do boring work. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Entergy construction project causing traffic delays in Woodlands," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Two soldiers stood up, craning to get a glance at us. Sandra Sidi, The Atlantic, "The Male Gaze on Steroids," 6 Sep. 2019 But those traveling east on Douglas Road have to crane their necks to see approaching eastbound traffic coming over a hill on the turnpike. Peter Marteka,, "Glastonbury officials nearing completion of Douglas Road and Sycamore Street intersection study," 2 Aug. 2019 They, along with throngs of people — whether tourists or jaded New Yorkers — were staring, necks craned, toward the night sky to watch Nik and Lijana Wallenda walking a wire high above Manhattan. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "‘Flying Wallendas’ Times Square High-Wire Walk Evokes Rich History of Death-Defying Stunts in N.Y.," 23 June 2019 Mayor London Breed, Assemblyman David Chiu and Warriors President Rick Welts cut the platform ribbon shortly before noon, as riders on a passing T-Third train craned their necks to watch. Rachel Swan,, "Muni prepares for big crowds with expanded platform near Chase Center," 6 Aug. 2019 Balaji craned his neck up to see the clerk, who held the book in one hand with ease. Abhijith Ravinutala,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: Definition(s)," 20 July 2019 With league executives and coaches relegated to standing room only, everyone craned to see what the Duke star and No. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Zion Williamson makes thrilling Summer League debut before earthquake hits. Michael Porter Jr. can only watch.," 5 July 2019 That didn’t stop people from paying to crane their necks to witness the performers drive tiny carriages, jump through tiny hoops and walk a tiny tightrope. Belinda Lanks, WSJ, "‘In Miniature’ Review: Let’s Get Small," 7 June 2019 The words stopped and Andrew Struck and I craned our necks to watch the aerial display. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Our national symbol is a soaring conservation success story," 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crane


Middle English cran, from Old English; akin to Old High German krano crane, Greek geranos, Latin grus

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Dictionary Entries near crane







crane fly

Statistics for crane

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crane

The first known use of crane was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for crane



English Language Learners Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a big machine with a long arm that is used by builders for lifting and moving heavy things
: a type of tall bird that has a long neck and long legs and lives near water



English Language Learners Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch out (your neck) in order to see better


\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Kids Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs
2 : a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavy weights


craned; craning

Kids Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch the neck to see better Neighbors craned out the window to see the parade.

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More from Merriam-Webster on crane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crane

Spanish Central: Translation of crane

Nglish: Translation of crane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crane for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crane

Comments on crane

What made you want to look up crane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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