crescent

noun
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.

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 How to pronounce Crescent (audio) \

Definition of Crescent (Entry 3 of 3)

used for an adjustable open-end wrench

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from crescent

Noun

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

Small cities and rural areas are losing population and economic power while the state’s wealthy suburban crescent — from D.C. through Richmond to Hampton Roads — grows and prospers. Washington Post, "2 cities share name, but 1 is in big trouble," 6 July 2018 The Bulgarian bag is essentially a nicer iteration of the sandbag, thanks to its soft leather covering, crescent shape that fits snugly around the shoulders, easy-to-grip straps, and stuffing of both sand and wool. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "What Is the Bulgarian Bag? All About Halle Berry’s New Favorite Strength Training Tool," 6 Mar. 2019 Linking those interior lanes will enable WSDOT to pursue its vision of a continuous 40-mile suburban crescent of express toll lanes, from Lynnwood to Puyallup. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Renton’s freeway carpool lanes make a $197 million connection this week," 19 Feb. 2019 There was a burning smell as Deschamps-Braly extracted a thick crescent of bone and set it aside. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Story of a Trans Woman’s Face," 12 Mar. 2018 Photos: Chun Han Wong/The Wall Street Journal(2) A sculpture resembling a Chinese jade disc in Yinchuan was installed this year to replace a crescent-moon sculpture. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Applies Xinjiang’s Policing Lessons to Other Muslim Areas," 23 Dec. 2018 Stevie for her shawls, chiffon, fringe, and gold crescent chains; my mom for her bright bold pantsuits and overbearing clip-on earrings of yore. Jessica Militare, Glamour, "The Case for Clip-on Earrings, Inspired by My Mom’s Gaudy Jewelry Collection," 30 Aug. 2018 The gatherings have since become a monthly ritual, taking place at the stroke of midnight on a night of the waning crescent moon. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Modern Woman Is Embracing Her Inner Witch," 12 Nov. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crescent

Listen to Our Podcast about crescent

Statistics for crescent

Last Updated

5 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crescent

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

crescent

adjective

Kids Definition of crescent (Entry 2 of 2)

: shaped like the crescent moon crescent rolls

crescent

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on crescent

What made you want to look up crescent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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