noun (1)
cra·​ter | \ ˈkrā-tər How to pronounce crater (audio) \
plural craters

Definition of crater

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the bowl-shaped depression around the orifice of a volcano
b : a depression formed by an impact (as of a meteorite)
c : a hole in the ground made by the explosion of a bomb or shell
2 : an eroded lesion
3 : a dimple in a painted surface
4 Crater, astronomy : a constellation that is visible between the constellations of Corvus and Hydra and that is represented by the figure of a cup Both the cup and the snake are here in the sky. If you have dark enough skies, you can spot the faint stars of Crater the cup and Hydra the snake to the right of Corvus.— Kevin D. Conod


cratered; cratering; craters

Definition of crater (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to exhibit or form craters
2 : to fail or fall suddenly and dramatically : collapse, crash the deal cratered cratering stock prices

transitive verb

: to form craters in


noun (2)

less common spelling of

: a jar or vase of classical antiquity having a large round body and a wide mouth and used for mixing wine and water

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Other Words from crater

Noun (1)

craterlike \ ˈkrā-​tər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce craterlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of crater in a Sentence


The deal cratered when neither party could agree on the final price. Stock prices cratered after the companies' merger.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Recently a crater opened up in Guayabetal, near the site of the biggest mudslide. The Economist, "A blocked road cuts Colombia in two," 28 June 2019 Its final mission destination is the Selk impact crater, which is where past liquid water mixed with molecules that included carbon, the building blocks for life. Richard Tribou,, "NASA to send flying drone Dragonfly to Saturn moon Titan," 27 June 2019 The battlefields looked like barbecue grills—not arrangements of discrete wrecks and craters, but greasy charcoal melted to the pavement. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "Marmalade Sky," 24 June 2019 The crater, measuring about 16 feet wide, formed as recently as February 2019, according to NASA researchers. Matt Mcnulty,, "NASA Researchers Discover New Crater on Mars That Looks Like 'Impressionist Painting'," 19 June 2019 The crater, about 16 meters wide, is estimated to have formed between September 2016 and February 2019. Michelle Lou, CNN, "NASA releases new image of an impact crater on the surface of Mars," 18 June 2019 Learn about the island’s recent volcanic history, view parts of the town buried by lava flows, and hike up the slopes of the Eldfell crater, where the ground is still warm from geothermal activity! National Geographic, "Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords," 17 June 2019 The main destination for the mission is the Jezero crater, where NASA hopes its rover might find signs of ancient life. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "NASA’s Mars Helicopter has passed another flight test," 6 June 2019 One of the explanations of this extra mass is that the metal from the asteroid that formed this crater is still embedded in the Moon’s mantle. Martin Finucane,, "What is that mysterious mass under the huge crater on the dark side of the moon?," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By some measures the sanctions worked: Iran’s economy has shrunk 4 percent, its currency has cratered and its inflation rate soared. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Trump Careens Toward a Confrontation With Iran," 17 June 2019 But the relationship quickly cratered after Solo's contract was terminated in August 2016. Michael Shapiro,, "Hope Solo Rips USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis: 'She Cracks Under the Pressure'," 8 June 2019 Some cities struggled to find places to send recyclables, and the market prices of those commodities cratered, making the economics of recycling even tighter. Dennis Pillion |,, "Alabama hits recycling milestone, keeping quarter of all trash from landfills," 16 June 2019 Putnam’s poll numbers cratered, his establishment support vanished, and DeSantis ended up winning in a landslide. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "4 winners and one loser from primary elections in Florida, Arizona, and Oklahoma," 29 Aug. 2018 But by the time Rau finished college, the recession had cratered the banking industry. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Thank You For Your Service. Now What?," 17 Oct. 2018 Kentucky teachers followed, shutting down some school districts to protest a pension bill signed by Gov. Matt Bevin (R). Because of tax cuts and falling oil prices, Oklahoma’s revenue has cratered, forcing it to slash state education funding. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "Oklahoma teacher walkout winds down despite lawmakers’ failure to meet demands," 12 Apr. 2018 Two long unwon wars destroyed the GOP’s reputation for sobriety in foreign affairs, and the 2008 crash cratered its reputation for economic probity. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Republicans Need to Save Capitalism," 14 Feb. 2019 The far side has a much more rugged, densely cratered appearance compared to the large, smoother maria that dominate the side of the Moon facing Earth. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Here’s why China’s launch to the far side of the Moon is a big deal," 10 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crater.' 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 crater

Noun (1)

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1884, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crater

Noun (1)

Latin, mixing bowl, crater, from Greek kratēr, from kerannynai to mix; akin to Sanskrit śrīṇāti he mixes

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Statistics for crater

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crater

The first known use of crater was in 1613

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More Definitions for crater



English Language Learners Definition of crater

US, informal : to fail or fall suddenly


cra·​ter | \ ˈkrā-tər How to pronounce crater (audio) \

Kids Definition of crater

1 : the area around the opening of a volcano or geyser that is shaped like a bowl
2 : a hole (as in the surface of the earth or moon) formed by an impact (as of a meteorite)


cra·​ter | \ ˈkrāt-ər How to pronounce crater (audio) \

Medical Definition of crater

: an eroded lesion of a wall or surface ulcer craters

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More from Merriam-Webster on crater

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crater

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crater

Spanish Central: Translation of crater

Nglish: Translation of crater for Spanish Speakers

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

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