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

The Mars Express research team examined two dozen craters on the planet that all lie below the Martian sea level. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Spacecraft Discovers Hints of Martian Groundwater," 4 Mar. 2019 What volcanic feature, located inside the crater of an erupting Hawaiian volcano, has been dropping for weeks, increasing geologists' concerns that a phreatic eruption is likely? 9. CNN, "CNN 10 - May 18, 2018," 17 May 2018 The new study said the geometry of a volcano’s crater has a major impact on the sounds a volcano can produce. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Volcano 'music' could help scientists monitor eruptions," 18 June 2018 With direct overhead sunlight, any hills or craters would look flat to the spacecraft. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Releases New, High-Quality Image of Ultima Thule," 28 Jan. 2019 But what most people don’t know is that Neil wandered off to Little West crater at the end of his little sojourn on the moon. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "First Man’s screenwriter thinks Neil Armstrong would be disappointed by the flag controversy," 15 Oct. 2018 There’s also a strategic reason to target a landing site near the lunar poles: Shadowed craters at high latitudes on the moon may hold significant deposits of frozen water. NBC News, "China plans historic mission to the moon's 'dark' side," 15 June 2018 New Horizons researchers anticipated a monotonous world battered by craters. Nola Taylor Redd,, "Celebrating 40 Years of Pluto's Largest Moon, Charon," 14 July 2018 Most of the craters on the Moon are thought to have formed around 3.9 billion years ago, based on analysis of the lunar rocks collected during NASA’s Apollo missions. Loren Grush, The Verge, "This weekend, China embarks on a historic mission to land on the far side of the Moon," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The highest-scoring teams are suddenly struggling or in precarious positions. Leaguewide scoring—once comfortably above 24 points per team per game, an all-time high—has cratered to 23.4 points. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NFL Soap Opera Is Ready for Its Twist Ending," 19 Dec. 2018 But in British Columbia, where small-time pot growers helped sustain rural economies as the mining and forestry industries cratered, the application period hasn’t opened yet. Gene Johnson, The Seattle Times, "More than 100 pot shops set to open as Canada legalizes weed," 11 Oct. 2018 An Ohio State University survey cited three particular fake news stories that cratered Hillary Clinton's support among former Obama voters. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "If the 2018 Election Is Hacked, This Is How It Will Happen," 5 Nov. 2018 Last night, Elon Musk puffed on a blunt with Joe Rogan, and this morning, Tesla’s share price is cratering. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "If Tesla goes up in smoke, it won’t be because Elon Musk hit a blunt," 7 Sep. 2018 In a way, John McCain trained in the art of defiance years before his de-winged aircraft cratered at a Hanoi lake. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "John McCain rebelled at the Naval Academy — and as a POW — long before he was a Senate maverick," 3 May 2018 Meanwhile coal mining jobs have cratered from a high of more than 800,000 in the 1920s to roughly 76,000 today. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The EPA plans to lift greenhouse gas limits on coal power plants," 6 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

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crater

The first known use of crater was in 1613

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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

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).


to boil down or concentrate

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