crep·​i·​tate ˈkre-pə-ˌtāt How to pronounce crepitate (audio)
crepitated; crepitating

intransitive verb

: to make a crackling sound : crackle
crepitation noun

Did you know?

Crepitate comes from the Latin word crepitare, meaning "to crackle." It has been used with this meaning since the late 1820s, but it had a previous life: about 200 years prior it was used to mean "to break wind." That meaning is now obsolete, and the word has no embarrassing remnants. In addition to its general use as a synonym of crackle, crepitate also has a specific medical meaning-"to produce or experience crepitation." Crepitation here refers to a grating or crackling sound or sensation, such as that produced by the fractured ends of a bone moving against each other.

Word History


Latin crepitatus, past participle of crepitare to crackle, frequentative of crepare to rattle, crack

First Known Use

circa 1828, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crepitate was circa 1828


Dictionary Entries Near crepitate

Cite this Entry

“Crepitate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


intransitive verb
crep·​i·​tate ˈkrep-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce crepitate (audio)
crepitated; crepitating
: to produce or experience crepitation

More from Merriam-Webster on crepitate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!