crevasse

noun

cre·​vasse kri-ˈvas How to pronounce crevasse (audio)
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.

Did you know?

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"?

Examples of crevasse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Adelman smoothed the side of the tower with his palm, then cut out a winding crevasse, blowing away excess grains with a metal straw. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 No further details on the man or how long he had been trapped in the crevasse have been released by authorities. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 22 Dec. 2023 There's a car jump across a giant crevasse that is just a once-in-a-lifetime stunt. EW.com, 2 Nov. 2023 The man was uninjured but trapped from the waist down in a crevasse along the cliff, San Diego Fire-Rescue said. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 22 Dec. 2023 See all Example Sentences for crevasse 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crevasse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, from Old French crevace — see crevice

First Known Use

1813, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of crevasse was in 1813

Dictionary Entries Near crevasse

Cite this Entry

“Crevasse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crevasse. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

crevasse

noun
cre·​vasse kri-ˈvas How to pronounce crevasse (audio)
: a deep crevice (as in a glacier)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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