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

The game-securing touchdown catch by 49er Dwight Clark, his body bent like a crescent moon, from the 1982 NFC Championship bout. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: Alex Morgan and the Politics of Women in Celebration," 4 July 2019 Portrait studios acquired sturdy, smiling crescent moons (and at least one that was implacably grumpy). Vicki Goldberg, New York Times, "The Moon Sits for Its Portrait," 3 July 2019 There’s Pride flags with crosses and crescent moons in the center. NBC News, "Israeli-Palestinian conflict tears into LGBTQ community," 21 June 2019 In Poblet’s piece, circular trays of broken glass are suspended in darkness, while a film of the artist swimming, projected down onto them, creates crescent shapes on the floor, a constellation of phases of the moon. Esther Allen, The New York Review of Books, "The Art of the Possible at Havana’s Bienal," 15 June 2019 Laid out in the 18th century, the neighborhood is characterized by orderly lanes of Georgian rowhomes and charming crescents circling serene gardens. National Geographic, "Scotland Private Expedition," 12 June 2019 The room is fitted with institutional furniture from the 1970s, from a two-top table to an eight-top, crescent banquettes and schoolroom chairs. Ben Ratliff, New York Times, "Learning to Listen, in a Los Angeles Cafe Built for Vinyl," 3 June 2019 Unlabeled, the model’s dominant feature is the river, half a foot wide, meandering southward 190 miles, carving its crescent around New Orleans before splintering a thousand capillaries out into the ocean. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Every year, Muslims around the world anticipate the sighting of the new crescent moon that signifies the official first day of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the most sacred month in Islamic culture. Eslah Attar, National Geographic, "The sighting of the new crescent moon marks the start of Ramadan, the most sacred month in Islamic culture.," 12 June 2019

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

14 Jul 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

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!