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

Capture the sun rising above the crater wall, and zoom in on flocks of flamingos, bathing hippos, large herds of zebras, prancing antelope, elusive rhinos, and lions resting up for the nighttime hunt. National Geographic, "Tanzania Photography Workshop," 10 Sep. 2019 For years, Indian engineers have prepared for a landing near the unexplored South Pole, following up an Indian mission that orbited the moon and helped to confirm the presence of water ice in the lunar craters. New York Times, "India Says It Has Located Chandrayaan-2 Lander on Moon’s Surface," 8 Sep. 2019 Earlier this month, something exceedingly rare appeared in the crater of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano: water. Matt Simon, WIRED, "What on Earth Is Water Doing in Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano?," 27 Aug. 2019 Ice spotted in craters at the moon’s poles could also be used. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Apollo 11 at 50: How the moon landing changed the world," 16 July 2019 Chang’e-4, named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, touched down in the Von Kármán crater in the lunar southern hemisphere and then released its rover, Yutu-2 (玉兔二号), to explore the lunar landscape. Jack H. Burke, National Review, "China’s New Wealth-Creation Scheme: Mining the Moon," 13 June 2019 In January, China landed the unmanned Change’e-4 in a crater on the far side of the moon. Peter Fimrite,, "Planned trips to moon could usher in space-based commerce," 8 June 2019 Heavy clouds of smoke were seen coming from Kilauea Wednesday, likely triggered by a rock fall from the crater walls. CBS News, "Growing concerns over flammable liquids stored in power plant threatened by lava," 10 May 2018 The quakes triggered rock slides on park trails and crater walls., "Hawaii Braces for Long Upheaval as Erupting Kilauea Boils," 6 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But stocks haven't cratered—in fact, the S&P 500 is up more than 16% this year and remains only 3.3% off the all-time high the benchmark index notched in late July. Alain Sherter, CBS News, "3 reasons the U.S. economy isn't set to fall off a cliff," 20 Aug. 2019 As the months have passed, one by one, Dershowitz’s broadsides against Boies and his allies have cratered. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "It’s Alan Dershowitz vs. David Boies, again and again," 13 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, the chinook runs to the Fraser River the whales are usually hunting in their ancient foraging grounds have cratered. Anchorage Daily News, "Where are the salmon and the orcas? Tribe, scientists grapple with unprecedented disappearance in Washington waters," 6 Aug. 2019 A year ago, trade speculation was swirling around Jonathan Schoop as the Orioles had cratered to the bottom of their division. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "Eyes and ears open, first-place Twins charge toward Wednesday trade deadline," 29 July 2019 Under Ward, contributions to the state party during the first quarter cratered to their lowest level in at least 18 years, according to a previous Republic analysis of campaign finance records. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Provocative conservative artist donates Trump artwork for Arizona GOP fundraiser," 16 July 2019 Once considered one of baseball's most promising prospects, Reed has cratered in the last three seasons while being repeatedly passed on the Astros' organizational hierarchy. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros designate A.J. Reed for assignment to make room for Jose Urquidy," 2 July 2019 Similar to 2007, US market confidence cratered late last year due to recession fears. Matt Egan, CNN, "Swings in market sentiment resemble pre-Lehman crisis, strategist warns," 6 June 2019 During 2001, the year of the dot-com bust, when internet startups and numerous other tech companies cratered, tech industry job totals in the Bay Area shrank by 14.9 percent while overall, all jobs in the Bay Area declined 6.1 percent. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "Tech jobs soar to all-time record in Bay Area," 5 July 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.

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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)

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

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Statistics for crater

Last Updated

17 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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