cris·​ta ˈkri-stə How to pronounce crista (audio)
plural cristae ˈkri-ˌstē How to pronounce crista (audio)
: any of the inwardly projecting folds of the inner membrane of a mitochondrion

Examples of crista in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Step three: the waves travel down the crista acustica, whose cells respond to the various frequencies and send that information to the insect’s nervous system. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 15 Nov. 2012

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

Word History


New Latin, from Latin, crest — more at crest

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crista was in 1959

Dictionary Entries Near crista

Cite this Entry

“Crista.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Medical Definition


cris·​ta ˈkris-tə How to pronounce crista (audio)
plural cristae -ˌtē, -ˌtī How to pronounce crista (audio)
: one of the areas of specialized sensory epithelium in the ampullae of the semicircular canals of the ear serving as end organs for the vestibular sense

called also crista ampullaris

: a membranous spiral fold running the length of the body of certain spirochetes
: an elevation of the surface of a bone for the attachment of a muscle or tendon
: any of the inwardly projecting folds of the inner membrane of a mitochondrion
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