cres·​cent | \ ˈkre-sᵊnt How to pronounce crescent (audio) \

Definition of crescent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the moon at any stage between new moon and first quarter and between last quarter and the succeeding new moon when less than half of the illuminated hemisphere is visible
b : the figure of the moon at such a stage defined by a convex (see convex sense 1a) and a concave (see concave entry 1 sense 2) edge
2 : something shaped like a crescent The crescent is used as the symbol of Islam.



Definition of crescent (Entry 2 of 3)

: marked by an increase : increasing "My powers are crescent … "— William Shakespeare


Cres·​cent | \ ˈkre-sᵊnt How to pronounce Crescent (audio) \

Definition of Crescent (Entry 3 of 3)

used for an adjustable open-end wrench

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Other Words from crescent


crescentic \ kre-​ˈsen-​tik How to pronounce Crescent (audio) , krə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?


You probably know "crescent" as the shape of a moon that is less than half-illuminated. These days, "crescent" is generally used of either a waxing or waning moon, but that wasn't always the case. Originally, it referred only to the increasing illumination phase that immediately follows the new moon. That original meaning nicely reflects the meaning of the word's Latin ancestor crescere, which means "to grow." The meaning of "crescere" also shines through when we use "crescent" as an adjective meaning "increasing" or "growing." English speakers have been using "crescent" in this way since the 16th century.

Examples of crescent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Carson is the broadest beach of the sandy crescent along Day Boulevard., 26 May 2021 The 30-day Islamic festival of Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the super-slim crescent Moon over Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 11 Apr. 2021 In particular the sight of Venus close to the slim crescent of the Moon should be spectacular! Jamie Carter, Forbes, 8 May 2021 On either side, a crescent of bleachers forms low hills in the middle of the water, giving visitors a way to gather into one large group or to separate into smaller clusters. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 15 Mar. 2021 Although the crescent remains static on the dial, It is meant to symbolize both the transitory nature of time and express a symbol of hope in these dark times. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 27 Apr. 2021 First, stargazers will be able to find Jupiter and Saturn as the waning crescent Moon sweeps past the gas giants on its eastward journey through Thursday night. Joe Mario Pedersen,, 8 Apr. 2021 The industry has its critics, such as Prince William residents concerned that data centers will spoil the beauty of its western rural crescent. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2021 The seven hills are supposed to form a crescent from the east bank of the Ohio River to the west, which would mean any and every one of these hills could be on the list. Kathrine Nero, The Enquirer, 11 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The next evening, on Thursday, May 13, 2021, the crescent Moon will be 2.9%-lit, be 1.7 days old, and be much higher above the horizon, so should be easier to see with the naked eye. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The next evening, on Thursday, May 13, 2021, the crescent Moon will be 2.9%-lit, be 1.7 days old, and be much higher above the horizon, so should be much easier to see with the naked eye. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Tonight: Skies clear a bit, so be sure to glance the crescent moon and Mars during the evening. Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2021 The first day of Ramadan begins when the first silver of the crescent moon in the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar appears. Lallia Allali, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2021 On April 18 and 19, gazers will find the the moon in a wide waxing crescent phase and near the brightest two stars of the constellation Gemini, Castor and Pollux. Joe Mario Pedersen,, 8 Apr. 2021 Behind, violet hills, a green and pink sky with a crescent moon. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2021 In Spanish, Luna means moon and sitting at center ice this season for the Arizona Coyotes is the crescent moon logo from 1996. Maddyn Johnstone-thomas, The Arizona Republic, 18 Mar. 2021 This features 60/40 rails, rear channels, and a crescent tail. Chris Hachey, BGR, 24 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crescent.' 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 crescent


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1574, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crescent


Latinization of Middle English cressant, cressaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French, noun derivative from present participle of creistre "to increase, grow," going back to Latin crēscere "to come into existence, increase in size or numbers," perhaps going back to Indo-European *kreh1- "become stronger, increase," whence also Slavic *krějǫ, *krějati (whence Old Czech křáti, kříti "to recover, regain strength," Russian dialect krejátʼ "to convalesce, get well," Ukrainian krijáty "to regain strength," Bulgarian kréja "weaken, wither"—sense perhaps by loss of an earlier privative prefix)

Note: Latin crēscere and creāre (see create entry 1) have traditionally been linked to Indo-European *ḱerh3- "feed, satisfy" (see ceres), but this has recently been questioned on both morphological and semantic grounds. Cf. Michiel de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Leiden, 2008; Oleg Trubačev, Ètimologičeskij slovarʼ slavjanskix jazykov: praslavjanskij leksičeskij fond, Vypusk 12 (Moscow, 1985), pp. 130-31; and in particular Eugen Hill, "Lateinisch crēscō 'wachsen' etymologisch: urslavisch *krějǫ 'genesen', litauisch šeriù 'füttern' oder armenisch serem 'erzeugen'?", International Journal of Diachronic Linguistics and Linguistic Reconstruction, vol. 3 (2006), pp. 187-209, where the issues are thoroughly discussed.


borrowed from Latin crēscent-, crescēns, present participle of crēscere "to come into existence, increase in size or numbers" — more at crescent entry 1

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The first known use of crescent was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crescent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for crescent



English Language Learners Definition of crescent

: the shape of the visible part of the moon when it is less than half full
: a shape that is curved, wide at its center, and pointed at its two ends like a crescent moon


cres·​cent | \ ˈkre-sᵊnt How to pronounce crescent (audio) \

Kids Definition of crescent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the shape of the visible part of the moon when it is less than half full
2 : something shaped like a crescent moon



Kids Definition of crescent (Entry 2 of 2)

: shaped like the crescent moon crescent rolls


cres·​cent | \ ˈkres-ᵊnt How to pronounce crescent (audio) \

Medical Definition of crescent

1 : a crescent-shaped anatomical structure or section
2 : the gametocyte of the falciparum malaria parasite that is shaped like a crescent and constitutes a distinguishing character of malignant tertian malaria

More from Merriam-Webster on crescent

Nglish: Translation of crescent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crescent for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crescent


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