crev·​ice ˈkre-vəs How to pronounce crevice (audio)
: a narrow opening resulting from a split or crack (as in a cliff) : fissure
A lizard emerged from a crevice in the cliff …Tony Hillerman

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"?

Example Sentences

steam escaped from a long crevice in the volcano
Recent Examples on the Web We were impressed by the crevice tool not just for corners but picking up hair on upholstery. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 May 2023 The vacuum also comes with three useful accessories: a flexible hose, a wide brush attachment, and a two-in-one crevice tool for precise cleaning. Clara Mcmahon, Peoplemag, 3 May 2023 There’s only one attachment, an extra-long crevice tool. Alida Nugent, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Apr. 2023 Grass can build up in the crevices under the deck, which can ultimately make the mower less effective at cutting and put extra strain on the motor. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, 22 Mar. 2023 Many of the toxic chemicals that were airborne in the early days after the derailment, including pollutants that can cause cancer and other serious problems, may have settled out of the air and onto furniture and into crevices in houses, Haynes said. Sharon Lerner, ProPublica, 11 Mar. 2023 Lightly tap the remote, button side down, on a table to dislodge any loose crumbs or debris stuck in the crevices. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 27 Feb. 2023 The photo went viral on social media with claims that the crevice looked artificial. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2022 There were still more stories: A married couple was pulled from the rubble in Iskenderun after spending 109 hours buried in a small crevice. Justin Spike,, 10 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French crevace, from crever to break, from Latin crepare to crack

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crevice was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near crevice

Cite this Entry

“Crevice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


crev·​ice ˈkrev-əs How to pronounce crevice (audio)
: a narrow opening caused by a split or crack : fissure

Medical Definition


crev·​ice ˈkrev-əs How to pronounce crevice (audio)
: a narrow fissure or cleft
an ulcerated periodontal crevice
see gingival crevice

More from Merriam-Webster on crevice

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