crys·​tal | \ ˈkri-stᵊl How to pronounce crystal (audio) \

Definition of crystal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : quartz that is transparent or nearly so and that is either colorless or only slightly tinged
2 : something resembling crystal in transparency and colorlessness
3 : a body that is formed by the solidification of a chemical element, a compound, or a mixture and has a regularly repeating internal arrangement of its atoms and often external plane faces
4 : a clear colorless glass of superior quality also : objects or ware of such glass
5 : the glass or transparent plastic cover over a watch or clock dial
6 : a crystalline material used in electronics as a frequency-determining element or for rectification
7 : crystal meth broadly : methamphetamine in any form when used illicitly



Definition of crystal (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : consisting of or resembling crystal : clear, lucid
2 : relating to or using a crystal a crystal radio receiver


geographical name
Crys·​tal | \ ˈkri-stᵊl How to pronounce Crystal (audio) \

Definition of Crystal (Entry 3 of 3)

city in southeastern Minnesota north of Minneapolis population 22,151

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crystal

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of crystal in a Sentence

Noun the crystal structure of minerals a necklace made of crystal Some of the crystals used in the necklace are a pale pink color. The wine glasses are made of the finest crystal. She inherited her mother's crystal. Adjective an unspoiled region with majestic mountains and crystal streams
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Currently, the Trojans are seen as the leader, with five crystal balls in favor of USC and one to the Bulldogs. Kayla Harvey, cleveland, 8 Sep. 2021 As the fuel burns, the metal atoms in the crystal structure absorb energy, become excited, and emit a specific color of light. David Bressan, Forbes, 4 July 2021 When tufa forms, uranium is ‘locked’ into the crystal structure and begins to decay to produce thorium. Benjamin Schoville, Quartz, 4 Apr. 2021 Natural diamonds have a cubic crystal structure, and while six-sided or hexagonal diamonds have been found rarely in nature (like at the site of meteorite impacts), creating them in a lab has proven next to impossible. Mike Wehner, BGR, 31 Mar. 2021 For a decade, his research team tried every trick in the book to get an x-ray crystal structure of the protein. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, 30 Nov. 2020 In another, a mix of hydrogen and lanthanum were squeezed together to form a lanthanum hydride, which contained lots of hydrogen within its crystal structure. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 14 Oct. 2020 Both have the same carbon chemistry and crystal structure. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, 25 Sep. 2020 After the owner died, a veterinary office and beauty shop operated in the home but left many of its attributes intact, including the ceiling medallions and crystal chandeliers. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Her pony was accented with a black and crystal Prada brooch at the base of the tail. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 Sep. 2021 Greenery and crystal blue waters abut one side, while the dramatic Atacama Desert flanks on the other. Devorah Lev-tov, Travel + Leisure, 8 Sep. 2021 With bigger waves, opt for a kayak to paddle out into the crystal blue water. Michelle Stansbury, Marie Claire, 16 Feb. 2021 In his spare time, Unwin also notes, Penrose also devised a mathematical structure that underlies quasi-crystal materials. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 6 Oct. 2020 Perry, wearing an adorable oversized polka-dot dress, a bright orange headband, and some sort of crystal tear-drop situation under her eye that would be perfect for a cameo on Euphoria, showed off all her favorite parts of the millennial pink room. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 17 Aug. 2020 In March and April, afternoon winds out of the northwest often mean crystal views across the South Bay and beyond to Mount Diablo. Tom Stienstra,, 15 Mar. 2020 There may be more crystal stores per capita in Santa Fe than anywhere else on Earth. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 20 Aug. 2019 My favorite was a warm, dark globe baked with local ancient grains encased within a crunchy, crystal salt-baked crust. Daria Di Lello, Vogue, 23 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crystal.' 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 crystal


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crystal


Middle English cristal "transparent quartz, object made from it," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin crystallum, crystallus, crustallum "clear ice, rock crystal," borrowed from Greek krýstallos, probably borrowed from a pre-Greek substratum; replacing Old English cristalla, cristal, cristallum, borrowed from Latin crystallum

Note: Greek krýstallos was traditionally linked etymologically with krýos "icy cold, frost" and Latin crusta "hard surface layer," though the morphological details were not explicable (and crusta does not refer to ice or cold). More likely, as asserted by Robert Beekes (Etymological Dictionary of Greek [Leiden: Brill, 2010], p. 787), krýstallos, as evidenced by the suffix -allos (from *aly- according to Beekes) and the variant króstallos, is of pre-Greek origin. Cf. notes at cryo-, crust.

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Time Traveler for crystal

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The first known use of crystal was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crystal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for crystal



English Language Learners Definition of crystal

: a small piece of a substance that has many sides and is formed when the substance turns into a solid
: a clear hard mineral that is either colorless or very light in color and that is used in making jewelry
: a special type of glass that is very clear


crys·​tal | \ ˈkri-stᵊl How to pronounce crystal (audio) \

Kids Definition of crystal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : quartz that is colorless and clear or nearly so
2 : a body formed by a substance hardening so that it has flat surfaces in an even arrangement an ice crystal a salt crystal
3 : a clear colorless glass of very good quality
4 : something clear like colorless quartz
5 : the clear cover over a clock or watch dial



Kids Definition of crystal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made of or being like a clear colorless glass of very good quality a crystal candy dish
2 : clear entry 1 sense 4 a crystal sky


crys·​tal | \ ˈkris-tᵊl How to pronounce crystal (audio) \

Medical Definition of crystal

1 : a body that is formed by the solidification of a chemical element, a compound, or a mixture and has a regularly repeating internal arrangement of its atoms and often external plane faces
2 : crystal meth broadly : methamphetamine in any form when used illicitly

Other Words from crystal

crystal adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on crystal

Nglish: Translation of crystal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crystal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crystal


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