crevasse

noun cre·vasse \ kri-ˈvas \
Updated on: 11 Apr 2018

Definition of crevasse

1 : a breach in a levee
2 : a deep crevice or fissure (as in a glacier or the earth)
  • The climber narrowly missed slipping into a crevasse.

Recent Examples of crevasse from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crevasse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What's the difference between a crevice and a crevasse?

Crevice and crevasse are very similar words: both come from Old French crever "to break or burst" and both refer to an opening of some kind. In fact, you can say that the only notable distinction between the two is the size of the openings they denote—and that one of them—crevice—is far more common than the other.

A crevice is a narrow opening resulting from a split or crack. In nature, crevices exist mostly in rocks and cliffs, but writers sometimes use the word for similar openings found in other materials, as in "crumbs in the crevices of the cushion." The word also is used metaphorically, as in "the cracks and crevices of memory."

Crevasse refers to a deep hole or fissure in a glacier or in the earth. In most instances, the word appears with enough context that the depth of the opening is easy enough to figure out, as in "a climber who fell 30 feet into a crevasse."

You'll sometimes find crevice used where crevasse is expected—probably because it's the word people are more familiar with. One way to remember the distinction between crevice and crevasse is that the i in crevice, the smaller hole, is a thinner letter than a in crevasse, the larger hole. Or, should you step into a crevasse, perhaps you'll have time for a lot of "Ahhhs"?

Origin and Etymology of crevasse

French, from Old French crevace — see crevice


CREVASSE Defined for English Language Learners

crevasse

Definition of crevasse for English Language Learners

  • : a deep, narrow opening or crack in an area of thick ice or rock



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

investment of mental or emotional energy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks Quiz

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!