1 of 3

chiefly British past tense of crow


2 of 3


archaic : a band or force of armed men
: a group of people associated together in a common activity or by common traits or interests
: a company of people working on one job or under one foreman or operating a machine
: the whole company belonging to a ship sometimes including the officers and master
also : one who assists the skipper of a sailboat
: the persons who have duties on an aircraft in flight
: the rowers and coxswain of a racing shell
also : rowing
crewless adjective


3 of 3


crewed; crewing; crews

intransitive verb

: to act as a member of a crew
Horwitz begins his re-creation of Cook's journeys by crewing on a replica of the Endeavour, Cook's first ship.Robert R. Harris

transitive verb

: to serve as a crew member on (a ship, an aircraft, etc.)
Crewing the vessel were three experienced sailors …Ron Arias
: to supply (something) with people (as for service)
"… you need to know at least 72 hours beforehand … to fuel and crew the plane, fly the plane over, give the crew enough time to rest," he [Erik Pitkethly] says.Emma Sheppard
Eventually, the production based itself in Stirling and Jankel filmed entirely on location …. The Screen Scotland Screen Commission helped crew the film with a majority Scottish

Examples of crew in a Sentence

Noun a skilled member of a ship's crew the flight's passengers and crew the ship's captain and crew A construction crew will begin work on the house next week. Verb She spent a couple of years crewing on a British ship. The ship was crewed by 12 men. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
At least one crew member was killed in the crash in western Japan on Wednesday, and seven others remain missing. Arata Yamamoto, NBC News, 1 Dec. 2023 Following in the footsteps of U.S. guilds, French TV crew members are poised to go on strike amid a battle with producers over minimum wages. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 1 Dec. 2023 Ukrainian electronic-warfare crews and drone-operators have taken control of the sky over Krynky—first by grounding Russia’s drones, and then filling the air with Ukraine’s drones. David Axe, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 With 10 national teams set to race over two days, this seventh event of 12 is a critical midseason point for the professional drivers and crews longing to get their hands on the $4 million purse. Gw Allen, Robb Report, 29 Nov. 2023 The center’s staff shrank to a skeleton crew, and the many ambitious projects came to a halt. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Nov. 2023 The missing men are crew members of the Meghna Adventure, a bulk carrier with a Bangladesh flag. Michael Dorgan, Fox News, 28 Nov. 2023 The project was first confirmed earlier this month, and, as The New York Times notes, camera crews have been spotted at the home of Heuermann’s ex, Asa Ellerup, as well as following her to one of Heuermann’s recent court hearings. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 28 Nov. 2023 According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 163 people have been severely injured due to turbulence between 2009 and 2022, with 129 of them being crew. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2023
During these tests the aircraft will be crewed, meaning that it will be flown by a pilot who is on board the plane. Rob Verger, Popular Science, 26 Oct. 2023 There are even occasional opportunities to crew when the yacht is being delivered from its home port to the racing destination. Helen Iatrou, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2023 Anderson said that the Kennicott wasn’t in service this summer because of difficulties crewing the vessel. Andy Lusk, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2023 Such robo-ships could self-deploy to a war zone, operate in tandem with destroyers, and sail to the nearest port to reload; this would be a much more affordable solution than designing, building, and crewing a whole new class of cruiser. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 1 Sep. 2023 The salmon in trolling are caught on hooks one at a time from small boats crewed by one to three people, often family members. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2023 Many of these ships are crewed by sailors whose spouses and children are in America. WSJ, 25 May 2022 Freelancers, aware of this, try to squirrel some of their fees away throughout the year to see them through to March, when productions start crewing up again. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 25 May 2023 The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (Iran's paramilitary) would crew the ships. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 2 Apr. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crew.' 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 crue, from Middle French, reinforcement, literally, increase, from crue, feminine past participle of croistre to grow, from Latin crescere — more at crescent

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1900, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of crew was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near crew

Cite this Entry

“Crew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a group or gathering of people
a happy crew
: a group of people working together
the kitchen crew
: a group of people who operate a ship, train, or airplane
: the rowers and coxswain of a racing shell

More from Merriam-Webster on crew

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