noun (1)
cra·​ter | \ˈkrā-tər \
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 \ 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

That number is consistent with the number of craters in the terrain. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Enigmatic ridges on Pluto may be the remains of vanished nitrogen glaciers," 17 Nov. 2018 This moonscape scene shows a cluster of impact craters on the moon. Miguel Claro,, "See the Moon in All Its Cratered, Groovy Glory (Photo)," 25 July 2018 The paucity of craters speckling Sputnik Planitia shows that the ice plain’s surface has been shaped by geological activity recently. Mike Wall, Scientific American, "Pluto Has Dunes, But They’re Not Made of Sand," 1 June 2018 Four days after launch, Conrad and Bean left Gordon behind in orbit and landed the lunar module Intrepid near the lip of a crater in the Ocean of Storms. William Harwood, CBS News, "Alan Bean, astronaut who walked on the moon, dies at 86," 26 May 2018 Important Post-Credits Scene: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) drives up to a crater in New Mexico and sees Thor’s hammer in the center. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Avengers: Infinity War Is Almost Here. Here’s What to Know About the Marvel Cinematic Universe Before You Go," 23 Apr. 2018 Geologists in Iceland recently discovered seven craters in the seabed off the coast of the northern city of Dalvík. Dana Dovey, Newsweek, "Mysterious Ocean Craters Off the Coast of Iceland Defy Scientific Explanation," 13 Mar. 2018 To do that, the spacecraft is going to first set off a small explosive projectile, which will make a crater on the surface. Loren Grush, The Verge, "A Japanese spacecraft just threw two small rovers at an asteroid," 21 Sep. 2018 In the upper left of this view is Aristoteles, a large impact crater. Miguel Claro,, "See the Moon in All Its Cratered, Groovy Glory (Photo)," 25 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Instead—as in 2015, when Chinese stocks cratered—the worry is more to do with the high level of leverage in the market, and what that could mean for China’s financial system. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "China’s Private-Sector Rescue Looks Like Anything But," 24 Oct. 2018 If public opinion was a direct reflection of news coverage, Trump’s popularity would be cratering by now. Larry Bartels, Washington Post, "Here’s how little Americans have learned about Donald Trump," 21 Feb. 2018 Despite the danger, health department orders to clean up, or abate, homes with lead hazards cratered in recent years — from 77 in 2015 to 34 in 2017. Ahmed Elbenni, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mayor Tom Barrett has nominated a new Health Department commissioner. Here are the problems facing the agency," 12 July 2018 Nash took flight as her competition cratered, nearly sticking a chip for eagle on No. Craig Larson,, "The spring season got off to a soggy start, but had a brilliant finish," 28 June 2018 These days any old schlub can pilot a drone without cratering it, what with good old autopilot tech, but there are drone pilots out there whose abilities push the limits of human cognition. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Watch Out, Pro Racers: These Drones Just Learned to Fly Solo," 27 June 2018 But a Verizon pullout from the aggregator arrangement won’t crater the market for this data, Sohn said. Washington Post, "APNewsBreak: Verizon to end location data sales to brokers," 19 June 2018 Some Senate Republicans fear that Trump's loosely formed trade war with China could end up cratering the agriculture industry at a time when many Midwestern farmers are preparing to plant crops. Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Trump chooses impulse over strategy as crises mount," 12 Apr. 2018 But Hurts was sacked two more times and the drive cratered before Joseph Bulovas missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt. Michael Casagrande,, "Live updates from Nick Saban after A-Day Game," 21 Apr. 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

8 Dec 2018

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

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large round hole in the ground made by the explosion of a bomb or by something falling from the sky

: the area on top of a volcano that is shaped like a bowl



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

: to fail or fall suddenly


cra·​ter | \ˈkrā-tər \

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 \

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

Comments on crater

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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