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

Synonyms & Antonyms for crater

Synonyms: Verb

crash, decline, descend, dip, dive, drop, fall, lower, nose-dive, plummet, plunge, sink, skid, tumble

Antonyms: Verb

arise, ascend, lift, mount, rise, soar, spike, up

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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

Habitat modules, huddled in the crater, inflate and connect by airlock. NBC News, "Here's what future Mars and lunar space colonies could look like," 7 July 2018 Over five years, Curiosity has used its Tunable Laser Spectrometer to measure methane in the atmosphere at the Gale crater. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA's Curiosity rover finds organic matter on Mars," 7 June 2018 During its lifetime, Curiosity has determined that the crater could have supported microbial life in the past, for example, as well as evidence of an ancient stream bed. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "NASA's Mars Curiosity rover makes new discovery, details coming Thursday afternoon," 5 June 2018 Kilauea has also been erupting lava into neighborhoods 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the east of the summit crater since May 3. Caleb Jones And Sophia Yan, Fox News, "Light coats of gritty ash fall near erupting Hawaii volcano," 18 May 2018 As Maddie Stone at Earther reports, the summit crater is fed by a larger chamber of magma beneath the volcano via a narrow passageway. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "“Explosive” Eruptions Possible at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano," 11 May 2018 Semi-autonomous robots begin the operation by digging a crater on Mars, the site of the future colony. NBC News, "Here's what future Mars and lunar space colonies could look like," 7 July 2018 And with each discovery of crater and mountain on these far-flung worlds, researchers need identifying names. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Sci-Fi and Snakes Rule in New Official Names for Features on Pluto’s Largest Moon and Mercury," 17 Apr. 2018 At 490m above sea level, Cerro Mesa Reserve offers spectacular views of the largest crater on Santa Cruz Island, exotic plants, and seven unique subspecies of finch and the elusive vermilion flycatcher. Allie Almario, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to the Galápagos Islands," 5 Oct. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Venezuela, once a major producer, has nearly halved output, to less than 1.4 million barrels a day, as its economy has cratered. Stanley Reed,, "Producers promised more oil — so why are prices rising?," 4 July 2018 He was chosen as a compromise candidate after Reagan’s first two choices to replace Justice Lewis Powell cratered under the weight of partisan opposition and personal foibles. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "From guns to gay rights, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the Supreme Court's swing vote," 27 June 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

10 Nov 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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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).


by force of circumstances

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