\ 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


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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of crane in a Sentence

Verb We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The view was that of a camera operator, on a traditional camera crane, searching for exactly the right bird’s-eye-view establishing shot. Michael Phillips,, "Venice film festival: One of the world’s great film gatherings gives us a sneak peek at what’s coming to Chicago’s film fest in October," 29 Aug. 2019 He was employed by O&G Industries as a crane operator., "Jerram E. Delahunty," 27 Aug. 2019 The man was working from a bucket on a crane when the machine tipped over, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Construction worker suffers serious injuries while working on border fence," 10 June 2019 A dozen activists and local officials gathered Wednesday in the shadow of cranes powering Charlotte's building boom to demand higher worker safety standards and answers in the accident that killed a 24-year-old worker last week at a new skyscraper. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "'We want answers' activists say, after worker dies falling off uptown Charlotte tower," 30 May 2018 That specialization led to innovations in design and more efficient machines like the use of cranes. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Ancient Greeks Used Machines to Lift Stones 150 Years Earlier Than Previously Believed," 29 Aug. 2019 That’s $125,000 worth of cash money cranes for the top earner among the lineup of musical guests at the annual lakefront ingestion event. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: Ex-top cop Garry McCarthy defends background checks, one of the largest Chicago office leases in recent years and other things to know to start your day," 20 Aug. 2019 That called into question the floor’s ability to bear the load of cranes and other construction activity, and Great Hall halted some work in the affected area, including the lifting of steel beams. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "DIA rejects Great Hall contractor’s cost and delay claim over weak concrete in terminal," 12 Aug. 2019 Pakistani residents watch as a crane lifts a bull from the roof of a building in preparation for Eid al-Adha, in Karachi. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Here's what you need to know about Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's biggest holidays," 9 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The many visitors craning their necks saw views throughout the first and second levels of carefully repainted, retouched and restored ceiling art from the 1930s. Jonathan Pitts,, "‘This is amazing!’: Thousands pack Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Central Library after massive renovation," 14 Sep. 2019 Maddox craned his cell phone to get a video of the Powell-Mason cable car gliding onto the wooden turntable, where a grip operator jumped out to push it. Rachel Swan,, "SF’s iconic cable cars will be down for 10 days for gear-box replacement," 3 Sep. 2019 Moore was sitting in the middle of the theatre, and other members of the audience craned their necks to catch a glimpse. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "“American Factory,” a New Netflix Film from the Obamas, Explores the Challenges of a Globalized Economy," 19 Aug. 2019 One image shows some 20 men and women with suitcases, all lined up behind traffic cones and craning their heads as if expecting a plane to appear any minute — in the middle of the steppe. Vanessa H. Larson, Washington Post, "At the Sackler Gallery, a rarely seen view of Iran by six women photographers," 14 Aug. 2019 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

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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Statistics for crane

Last Updated

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for crane

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

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More Definitions for crane


How to pronounce Crane (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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