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

Can some local brewer puh-leeze produce a straight-forward pale or pilsner that doesn’t blow a crater in my wallet? Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds need the off day, and other MLB thoughts," 12 July 2018 Granted, the defection of LeBron James from Cleveland to the Los Angeles Lakers has left the Eastern Conference something of a smoking crater. Gary Peterson, sacbee, "Breaking the NBA? On the contrary, the Warriors are doing it a favor," 12 July 2018 The latest pictures released Monday offer unprecedented views of a huge impact crater known for its bright salty deposits. Marcia Dunn,, "NASA's Dawn spacecraft sending back close-ups of dwarf planet Ceres," 3 July 2018 The explosion created a crater that was about two feet wide and two-and-a-half inches deep, 6ABC reported. Vinny Vella,, "Officials investigate another mystery explosion in Upper Bucks County," 15 June 2018 Into the Cinder Cone The Cinder Cone, best seen looking down from the adjacent Prospect Peak Trail, looks like a crater on the moon. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Cinder Cone’s mystery unveiled in Land of Smoke," 6 June 2018 At the end of the eighties, a crater was then found in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula by an oil company geologist. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "Why Today is the Golden Age for Dinosaur Discoveries," 2 June 2018 Those within 20 miles of the crater could also be subject to smaller rocks and ash. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "Four residents airlifted, dozens more structures destroyed by lava on Hawaii’s Big Island," 19 May 2018 Pahala is the closest town west of the summit crater., "'Excited And Scared': Hawaii Volcano Spews Huge Cloud of Ash," 18 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Trump won 52 percent of the vote in those states in 2016... Despite the escalating trade spats, markets have not cratered. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Senate rebuke of Trump tariffs won't actually change anything," 12 July 2018 Year after year, the price of solar has cratered faster than the experts predicted. Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Where Can Climate Activists Find Common Ground?," 9 July 2018 Union membership has cratered in Wisconsin since Gov. Scott Walker moved to reduce collective bargaining rights and won legislative approval for right-to-work rules. Jonathon Berlin,, "What Wisconsin says about what could happen to Illinois unions after Janus," 29 June 2018 The Fed’s stress tests, put in place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, consider a variety of economic scenarios, including a spike in unemployment and cratering house prices. Emily Flitter, New York Times, "Bank ‘Stress Tests’ Results Clear Way for Wall Street to Reward Investors," 28 June 2018 This year’s test was the toughest to date, laying out a doomsday scenario of double-digit unemployment, cratering home and stock prices, and soaring losses on credit cards and car loans. Lalita Clozel, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dinged in Fed Stress Tests," 28 June 2018 Nine years ago, Spanish entrepreneur Javier Goyeneche was fighting a losing battle to save his footwear and accessories company from the cratering economy. Rodrigo Orihuela,, "How Spain Got Its Swagger Back," 19 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

1 Sep 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

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