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 crater (audio) \ adjective

Examples of crater in a Sentence

Verb 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 The Japan Meteorological Agency, which raised the alert level for the volcano to 3 on a scale of 5, flagged a risk of falling rocks and pyroclastic flows around the crater — one of the world’s largest. Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2021 Authorities shut down areas around the crater Tuesday, but the activity still forced the temporary closure of nearby Sicily’s Catania Airport. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 19 Feb. 2021 The samples from the Chinese mission were formed from magma that erupted around 2 billion years ago, which Jolliff said will also help researchers better calibrate the crater counting technique. NBC News, 7 Oct. 2021 These findings, which were published Thursday in the journal Science, come from the first scientific analysis of rover images that show outcrops of rocks inside the crater. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 7 Oct. 2021 The eruption began last week in the Halemaumau crater at the volcano’s summit on the Big Island. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2021 But the researchers working on the Perseverance mission hope to find some answers inside that crater. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2021 The largest diamond ever found in the U.S. — the Uncle Sam — was discovered at the crater in 1924. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 1 Oct. 2021 Another summit eruption from December 2020 to May of this year created a lava lake within Halemaumau crater. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The crypto could crater once again, and miners lured by the bonanza could flood the market, lowering the piece of the industry pie chart that Stronghold would garner. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 21 Oct. 2021 After watching revenues crater over the last 18 months, and knowing that the salary cap will be all-but-flat for the next few years as those shortfalls are addressed, all parties now seem to be craving security. Carol Schram, Forbes, 20 Oct. 2021 For a team hoping that David Krejci’s departure won’t crater their secondary scoring, Coyle’s re-emergence was a welcome sight., 7 Oct. 2021 Not long ago, the received wisdom among would-be Social Security pundits was that COVID-19 would absolutely crater the system’s finances. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2021 The global economy, which depends on the stability of U.S. Treasury bonds, could crater, creating a situation at least as bad as the 2008 economic collapse. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 23 Sep. 2021 Kristen, and the president's poll numbers, especially among independents, just seem to crater. ABC News, 5 Sep. 2021 Other fads like Beanie Babies or Pogs blew up in the '90s only to crater, leaving most collectors holding worthless junk. Ken Sweet, ajc, 3 Sep. 2021 But the stock has had a rocky year, with shares rising to $54 in February, only to crater to $16 by mid May. David Dawkins, Forbes, 18 June 2021

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)

borrowed from Latin crātēr, crātēra "mixing bowl, basin of a fountain, bowl-shaped depression around the mouth of a volcano," borrowed from Greek krātḗr "mixing bowl, bowl-shaped depression around the mouth of a volcano," from krā-, variant stem of keránnȳmi, kerannýnai "to mix, mingle (as wine with water)" (going back to Indo-European *ḱerh2-, *ḱr̥h2- "mix," whence also Sanskrit ā́-śīrta- "mixed," Avestan sārəṇtē "[they] meet, unite") + -tēr, instrumental suffix


derivative of crater entry 1

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for crater



English Language Learners Definition of crater

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on crater

Nglish: Translation of crater for Spanish Speakers

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


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