noun \ˈkresh, ˈkrāsh\

Definition of crèche

  1. 1 :  a representation of the Nativity (see nativity 1) scene

  2. 2 :  day nursery

  3. 3 :  a foundling hospital

  4. 4 :  a group of young animals (such as penguins or bats) gathered in one place for care and protection usually by one or more adults

crèche was our Word of the Day on 12/25/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of crèche in a sentence

  1. one of the first cities to establish crèches so that poor women with children could work outside of the home

Did You Know?

She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a cratch. That may not sound like a familiar translation of Luke 2:7, but back in the 1300s, the substitution of cratch for manger probably wouldn't have raised any eyebrows. Back then spelling was imprecise, and several different words and spellings, including cratch, cracche, crache, and crecche, were used to describe a trough for holding feed for livestock or to identify the manger where Jesus was laid. By the late 18th century, crèche (which we borrowed from French and now sometimes spell without the accent mark) had displaced those older forms, and the word had lost its former "manger" meaning, coming to refer instead to a representation of the Nativity scene itself.

Origin and Etymology of crèche

French, from Old French creche manger, crib, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German krippa manger — more at crib

First Known Use: 1792

CRÈCHE Defined for English Language Learners


noun \ˈkresh, ˈkrāsh\

Definition of crèche for English Language Learners

  • : a set of statues that represents the scene of Jesus Christ's birth and that is displayed during Christmas

  • : a place where young children are cared for during the day while their parents are working : a day care center

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to criticize severely

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