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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from crater

Noun (1)

craterlike \ ˈkrā-​tər-​ˌlīk How to pronounce craterlike (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 After pulling the images together, the researchers generated a three-dimensional reconstruction of the shape of the asteroid, in addition to a crater map of its poles. Fox News, "Asteroid Pallas' violent history revealed in new images," 14 Feb. 2020 Though the researchers aren’t yet certain exactly how many craters freckle Pallas, an analysis of 11 images snapped by SPHERE showed that that the marks make up at least 10 percent of the asteroid’s surface. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Most Cratered Object in the Asteroid Belt Looks Like a Golf Ball," 13 Feb. 2020 Mysto Mead, which is off a road that confuses even Google Maps and is strewn with crater-size potholes, does not yet have a taproom but is a fixture at farmers’ markets and wine festivals. James Reddicliffe, New York Times, "How Mead Went From ‘Game of Thrones’ to Brooklyn Bars," 28 Jan. 2020 One night a meteor hurtles into the backyard, making a small crater that draws the interest of a TV station and the nearby town’s mayor (Q’orianka Kilcher, wasted yet again). G. Allen Johnson,, "Review: Nicolas Cage is the best special effect in ‘Color Out of Space’," 22 Jan. 2020 Two minerals, zircon and monazite, held the key to the crater’s age. Popular Science, "This 43-mile-wide crater is 2.2 billion years old—making it Earth’s oldest meteorite impact," 22 Jan. 2020 The normally peaceful neighborhood where shots were fired is at the far end of the Waikiki Beach between the Honolulu Zoo and the famed Diamond Head State Monument, a volcanic crater that looms above Honolulu and is popular with tourists and hikers., "Waikiki Beach Shooting Leaves at Least One Officer Dead," 19 Jan. 2020 The evidence that a crater lies beneath all that lava is mounting. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The 100-Year-Search for a Missing Impact Crater Is Over," 10 Jan. 2020 The country's volcanology agency warned locals and tourists to stay 1.3 miles from the volcano's crater following an eruption Tuesday that blasted ash and debris up to 6,560 feet into the air. CBS News, "New Year's celebrations around the world," 1 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The economy and housing markets cratered that year, evaporating 2.6 million jobs and pushing more than 3 million homes into foreclosure. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life," 10 Feb. 2020 The already teetering economy cratered, and oil prices followed. Paul Vigna, WSJ, "Tesla’s Epic Rally Echoes Past Oil, Bitcoin Bubbles," 4 Feb. 2020 Amid a cratering stock price, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel is stepping down from the freelance job site, the company said late on Monday. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "Upwork CEO Is Stepping Down Amid Depressed Stock Price," 10 Dec. 2019 But President Donald Trump’s trade hostilities with China led to tariffs in 2018 that cratered the U.S. lobster export market, while Canada’s surged. Washington Post, "China deal might not bail out lobster industry this New Year," 25 Jan. 2020 Shares cratered in the first minutes of trading Friday, and ended the day down 31%, wiping out $1.2 billion in shareholder equity. Matthias Gafni,, "PG&E connection to Kincade Fire could deepen utility’s jeopardy," 26 Oct. 2019 Some YouTube content creators, however, said the changes were likely to crater their advertising business, because personalized ads tend to sell for more than contextual ads. Washington Post, "YouTube overhauls advertising, data collection on kids content," 6 Jan. 2020 Some YouTube content creators, however, said the changes were likely to crater their advertising business, because personalized ads tend to sell for more than contextual ads. Greg Bensinger,, "YouTube overhauls advertising, data collection on kids content," 6 Jan. 2020 And the moment that Silicon Valley stops being a gusher of money for Sacramento, the California model will crater as well. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Whither Kamala Harris? A Failed-State Senator’s Failing Campaign," 31 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crater

Time Traveler for crater

Time Traveler

The first known use of crater was in 1613

See more words from the same year

Statistics for crater

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on crater

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!