crescent

noun
cres·​cent | \ˈkre-sᵊnt \

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.

crescent

adjective

Definition of crescent (Entry 2 of 3)

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

Crescent

trademark
Cres·​cent | \ˈkre-sᵊnt \

Definition of Crescent (Entry 3 of 3)

used for an adjustable open-end wrench

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Other Words from crescent

Noun

crescentic \kre-​ˈsen-​tik, krə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

Adjective

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

Its architecture of four minarets and nine domes tipped with crescent moons would be at home anywhere in the Islamic world, save for the large red and yellow Chinese flags fluttering from the ramparts and the wide central staircase. Sam Mcneil, Fox News, "China blames local officials for protest over mosque razing," 30 Aug. 2018 The crescent moon was just two degrees from Venus by mid-twilight, appearing right next to each other to the naked eye. Temi Adebowale, Popular Mechanics, "These Pictures of Venus and the Moon Together Are Stunning," 17 July 2018 Every year, the start date is determined by a scientific prediction of when the slender crescent of the new moon will appear in the evening sky. Kristin E. Holmes, Philly.com, "Muslims look to new moon for start of Ramadan, but few saw it this year," 16 May 2018 One of the highlights is the new entrance into the arch, a light-gathering disk with a westward facing crescent entryway. Gary Garth, USA TODAY, "Gateway Arch: An American classic gets a major overhaul," 29 June 2018 The state is looking at a drastic change of plans: creating a vast, 40-mile network of both free and toll lanes, and using future toll income on projects up and down the suburban crescent. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "More on the Maryland newspaper shooting, and the Special Olympics USA Games come to town | Friday Morning Brief, June 29," 29 June 2018 There are more than 30 along Thorncliffe Park Drive, a crescent road that runs less than a mile cradling the school. Catherine Porter, New York Times, "1 Neighborhood. 24 Kindergarten Classes. 40 Languages. (Some Miming Helps.)," 29 June 2018 Where skies were cloudy, mosques relied on the sighting of the crescent by mosques in sunnier places. Sabeeha Rehman, WSJ, "How America Makes Ramadan Easier," 31 May 2018 Other standouts include a bronze version of the Atacama cuff ($790), whose thin crescent form is a nod to the shape of the Atacama Desert. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This Beyoncé-Approved Designer Is Making Ancient Jewelry Modern," 2 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

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

Adjective

1574, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crescent

Noun

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.

Adjective

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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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for crescent

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

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More Definitions for crescent

crescent

noun

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

crescent

noun
cres·​cent | \ˈkre-sᵊnt \

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

crescent

adjective

Kids Definition of crescent (Entry 2 of 2)

: shaped like the crescent moon crescent rolls

crescent

noun
cres·​cent | \ˈkres-ᵊnt \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on crescent

Spanish Central: Translation of crescent

Nglish: Translation of crescent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crescent for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about crescent

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