crev·​ice | \ ˈkre-vəs How to pronounce crevice (audio) \

Definition of crevice

: 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

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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 crevice in a Sentence

steam escaped from a long crevice in the volcano
Recent Examples on the Web These include putting items in a dryer set on high, placing items in a home freezer for two weeks, and vacuuming with a crevice tool. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Bed bugs don’t transmit disease, but still cause stress: say local conference leaders," 4 Nov. 2019 Separate the alarm from the wall and using the crevice tool on your vacuum, remove any debris on both the wall and alarm. Sara Clark, Country Living, "How to Turn Off That Beeping Smoke Alarm," 18 Oct. 2019 Accessories include a motorhead, combination tool and crevice tool. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Save on the Dyson V7 and V11 Vacuums," 17 Oct. 2019 DiClerico recommends applying two coats of paint using a high-quality paint brush, which will be able to reach any crevices in the door detail. Daniel Bortz, The Seattle Times, "How to give your kitchen a facelift for less? Use paint," 7 Sep. 2018 In spring, meltwater filled those crevices, which later refroze. Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic, "Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.," 16 Aug. 2019 Bowden knows every crevice of the school theater and Smith is the senior class advisor and in charge of graduation. Erika Butler,, "Bel Air Drama Company supporters plead to keep directors, maintain family," 11 June 2019 On his latest dive, Likins photographed an event and that Fish and Wildlife researchers first reported three years ago: Abalone were leaving crevices and instead were climbing kelp stalks in search of fronds to eat. Tom Stienstra,, "On seafloor, sea urchins trump abalone," 7 Sep. 2019 The little whisk, on the other hand, fits comfortably in all of my vessels—even my mugs and my itsy butter warmer—with enough breathing room to still do its job and get in all the edges and crevices. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "A Mini Whisk is Better Than a Giant One—Prove Me Wrong," 29 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of crevice

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crevice

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

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Time Traveler for crevice

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for crevice

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Crevice.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for crevice


How to pronounce crevice (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crevice

: a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock


crev·​ice | \ ˈkre-vəs How to pronounce crevice (audio) \

Kids Definition of crevice

: a narrow opening (as in the earth) caused by cracking or splitting : fissure


crev·​ice | \ ˈkrev-əs How to pronounce crevice (audio) \

Medical Definition of crevice

: a narrow fissure or cleft an ulcerated periodontal crevice — see gingival crevice

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More from Merriam-Webster on crevice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crevice

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crevice

Spanish Central: Translation of crevice

Nglish: Translation of crevice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crevice for Arabic Speakers

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