crater (n.) Look up crater at
1610s, from Latin crater, from Greek krater "bowl for mixing wine with water," from kera- "to mix," from PIE root *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (see rare (adj.2)). Used in Latin for bowl-shaped mouth of a volcano. Applied to features of the Moon since 1831 (they originally were thought to be volcanic). As a verb, from 1830 in poetry, 1872 in science. Related: Cratered; cratering.
cravat (n.) Look up cravat at
1650s, from French cravate (17c.), from Cravate "Croatian," from German Krabate, from Serbo-Croatian Hrvat "a Croat" (see Croat). Cravats came into fashion 1650s in imitation of linen scarves worn by Croatian mercenaries in the Thirty Years' War.
crave (v.) Look up crave at
Old English crafian "ask, implore, demand by right," from North Germanic *krabojan (source also of Old Norse krefja "to demand," Danish kræve, Swedish kräva); perhaps related to craft in its base sense of "power." Current sense "to long for" is c. 1400, probably through intermediate meaning "to ask very earnestly" (c. 1300). Related: Craved; craving.
craven (adj.) Look up craven at
early 13c., cravant, perhaps from Old French crevante "defeated," past participle of cravanter "to strike down, to fall down," from Latin crepare "to crack, creak." Sense affected by crave and moved from "defeated" to "cowardly" (c. 1400) perhaps via intermediary sense of "confess oneself defeated." Related: Cravenly; cravenness.
cravings (n.) Look up cravings at
"urgent desires," 17c., from craving, verbal noun from crave.
craw (n.) Look up craw at
Old English *cræg "throat," from Proto-Germanic *krag- "throat" (source also of Middle Dutch craghe "neck, throat," Old High German chrago, German Kragen "collar, neck"), of obscure origin.
crawfish (n.) Look up crawfish at
1620s, variant of crayfish. Not originally an American form. Also in 19c. American English as a verb, "to back out," in reference to the creature's movements.
crawl (v.) Look up crawl at
c. 1200, creulen, from a Scandinavian source, perhaps Old Norse krafla "to claw (one's way)," Danish kravle, from the same root as crab (n.1). If there was an Old English *craflian, it has not been recorded. Related: Crawled; crawling.
crawl (n.) Look up crawl at
1818, from crawl (v.); in the swimming sense from 1903, the stroke developed by Frederick Cavill, well-known English swimmer who emigrated to Australia and modified the standard stroke of the day after observing South Seas islanders. So called because the swimmer's motion in the water resembles crawling.
crayfish (n.) Look up crayfish at
"small, freshwater lobster," early 14c., crevis, from Old French crevice "crayfish" (13c., Modern French écrevisse), probably from Frankish *krebitja or a similar Germanic word that is a diminutive form of the root of crab (n.1); compare Old High German krebiz "crab, shellfish," German Krebs. Modern spelling is 16c., under influence of fish (n.).
crayon (n.) Look up crayon at
1640s, from French crayon "pencil" (16c.), originally "chalk pencil," from craie "chalk," from Latin creta "chalk, pipe-clay," which is of unknown origin. Not now considered to mean "Cretan earth," as once was believed.
craze (v.) Look up craze at
late 14c., crasen, craisen "to shatter, crush, break to pieces," probably Germanic and perhaps ultimately from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse *krasa "shatter"), but entering English via an Old French crasir (compare Modern French écraser). Original sense preserved in crazy quilt pattern and in reference to cracking in pottery glazing (1815). Mental sense (by 1620s) perhaps comes via transferred sense of "be diseased or deformed" (mid-15c.), or it might be an image. Related: Crazed; crazing.
... there is little assurance in reconciled enemies: whose affections (for the most part) are like unto Glasse; which being once cracked, can neuer be made otherwise then crazed and vnsound. [John Hayward, "The Life and Raigne of King Henrie the IIII," 1599]
craze (n.) Look up craze at
late 15c., "break down in health," from craze (v.) in its Middle English sense; this led to a noun sense of "mental breakdown," and by 1813 to the extension to "mania, fad," or, as The Century Dictionary (1902) defines it, "An unreasoning or capricious liking or affectation of liking, more or less sudden and temporary, and usually shared by a number of persons, especially in society, for something particular, uncommon, peculiar, or curious ...."
craziness (n.) Look up craziness at
c. 1600, "infirmity," from crazy + -ness. Meaning "state of being flawed or damaged" is from 1660s; that of mental unsoundness" is from 1755.
crazy (adj.) Look up crazy at
1570s, "diseased, sickly," from craze + -y (2). Meaning "full of cracks or flaws" is from 1580s; that of "of unsound mind, or behaving as so" is from 1610s. Jazz slang sense "cool, exciting" attested by 1927. To drive (someone) crazy is attested by 1873. Phrase crazy like a fox recorded from 1935. Crazy Horse, Teton Lakhota (Siouan) war leader (d.1877) translates thašuka witko, literally "his horse is crazy."
creak (v.) Look up creak at
early 14c., "utter a harsh cry," of imitative origin. Used of the sound made by a rusty gate hinge, etc., from 1580s. Related: Creaked; creaking. As a noun, from c. 1600.
creaky (adj.) Look up creaky at
1834, from creak + -y (2). Related: Creakily; creakiness.
cream (n.) Look up cream at
early 14c., creyme, from Old French cresme (13c., Modern French crème) "chrism, holy oil," blend of Late Latin chrisma "ointment" (from Greek khrisma "unguent;" see chrism) and Late Latin cramum "cream," which is perhaps from Gaulish. Replaced Old English ream. Re-borrowed 19c. from French as creme. Figurative sense of "most excellent element or part" is from 1580s. Cream-cheese is from 1580s.
cream (v.) Look up cream at
mid-15c., "to foam," from cream (n.). Meaning "to beat, thrash, wreck" is 1929, U.S. colloquial. Related: Creamed; creaming.
creamer (n.) Look up creamer at
1858, "dish for skimming cream," agent noun from cream (v.). As "a pitcher for cream," from 1877.
creamery (n.) Look up creamery at
1808, from French crémerie, from crème (see cream (n.)).
creampuff (n.) Look up creampuff at
also cream puff, by 1859 as a kind of light confection, from cream (n.) + puff (n.). In figurative sense of "weakling, sissy," it is recorded from 1935.
I remember my first campaign. My opponent called me a cream puff. That's what he said. Well, I rushed out and got the baker's union to endorse me. [Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., 1987]
As a salesman's word, "something that is a tremendous bargain," it is from 1940s.
creamy (adj.) Look up creamy at
mid-15c., from cream (n.) + -y (2). Related: Creamily; creaminess.
crease (n.) Look up crease at
1660s, altered from creaste "a ridge," perhaps a variant of crest (n.), via meaning "a fold in a length of cloth" (mid-15c.) which produced a crest. In sports, first in cricket (1779), where it was originally cut into the ground. As a verb, from 1580s. Related: Creased; creasing.
create (v.) Look up create at
late 14c., from Latin creatus, past participle of creare "to make, bring forth, produce, beget," related to crescere "arise, grow" (see crescent). Related: Created; creating.
creatine (n.) Look up creatine at
1834, from French creatine, from Greek kreas "flesh, meat" (see raw) + chemical suffix -ine (2). Organic base discovered by French physicist Michel-Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889) in the juice of flesh and named by him.
creatinine (n.) Look up creatinine at
by 1847, from creatine + chemical suffix -ine (2).
creation (n.) Look up creation at
late 14c., "action of creating, a created thing," from Old French creacion (14c., Modern French création) "creation, coming into being," from Latin creationem (nominative creatio) "a creating, a producing," in classical use "an electing, appointment, choice," noun of action from past participle stem of creare (see create). Meaning "that which God has created, the world and all in it" is from 1610s. The native word in the Biblical sense was Old English frum-sceaft. Of fashion costumes, desserts, etc., from 1870s, from French. Creation science is attested by 1970.
creationism (n.) Look up creationism at
1847, originally a Christian theological position that God immediately created a soul for each person born; from creation + -ism. As a name for the religious reaction to Darwin, opposed to evolution, it is attested from 1880.
James Ussher (1581-1656), Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin was highly regarded in his day as a churchman and as a scholar. Of his many works, his treatise on chronology has proved the most durable. Based on an intricate correlation of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean histories and Holy writ, it was incorporated into an authorized version of the Bible printed in 1701, and thus came to be regarded with almost as much unquestioning reverence as the Bible itself. Having established the first day of creation as Sunday 23 October 4004 B.C. ... Ussher calculated the dates of other biblical events, concluding, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC, and that the ark touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 1491 BC "on a Wednesday". [Craig, G.Y., and E.J. Jones, "A Geological Miscellany," Princeton University Press, 1982.]
creative (adj.) Look up creative at
1670s, "having the quality of creating," from create + -ive. Of literature, "imaginative," from 1816, first attested in Wordsworth. Creative writing is attested from 1907. Related: Creatively.
creativity (n.) Look up creativity at
1859, from creative + -ity. An earlier word was creativeness (1800).
creator (n.) Look up creator at
c. 1300, "Supreme Being," from Anglo-French creatour, Old French creator (12c., academic and liturgical, alongside popular creere, Modern French créateur), from Latin creator "creator, author, founder," from creatus (see create). Translated in Old English as scieppend (from verb scieppan; see shape (v.)). Not generally capitalized until KJV. General meaning "one who creates" is from 1570s.
creature (n.) Look up creature at
late 13c., "anything created," also "living being," from Old French creature (Modern French créature), from Late Latin creatura "thing created," from creatus, past participle of Latin creare "create" (see create). Meaning "anything that ministers to man's comforts" (1610s), after I Timothy iv.4, led to jocular use for "whiskey" (1630s).
creche (n.) Look up creche at
"Christmas manger scene," 1792, from French crèche, from Old French cresche (13c.) "crib, manger, stall," ultimately from Frankish or some other Germanic source; compare Old High German kripja, Old English cribb (see crib). Also "a public nursery for infants where they are cared for while their mothers are at work" (1854).
cred (n.) Look up cred at
slang shortening of credibility, by 1992.
credence (n.) Look up credence at
mid-14c., from Medieval Latin credentia "belief," from Latin credentum (nominative credens), past participle of credere "believe, trust" (see credo).
credential (n.) Look up credential at
"that which entitles to credit," 1756, probably a back-formation from credentials. Earlier in English as an adjective, "confirming, corroborating" (late 15c.). As a verb, "provide with credentials," by 1828 (implied in dredentialed).
credentials (n.) Look up credentials at
"letters entitling the bearer to certain credit or confidence," 1670s, from Medieval Latin credentialis, from credentia (see credence). Probably immediately as a shortening of letters credential (1520s, with French word order); earlier was letter of credence (mid-14c.).
credenza (n.) Look up credenza at
1883, "an Italian sideboard," from Italian credenza, literally "belief, credit," from Medieval Latin credentia (see credence).

The same evolution that produced this sense in Italian also worked on the English word credence, which in Middle English also meant "act or process of testing the nature or character of food before serving it as a precaution against poison," a former practice in some royal or noble households. Because of that, in medieval times it also meant "a side-table or side-board on which the food was placed to be tasted before serving;" hence, in later use, "a cupboard or cabinet for the display of plate, etc." These senses fell away in English, and the modern furniture piece, which begins to be mentioned in domestic interiors from c. 1920, took its name from Italian, perhaps as a more elegant word than homely sideboard.
credibility (n.) Look up credibility at
1590s, from Medieval Latin credibilitas, from Latin credibilis (see credible). Credibility gap is 1966, American English, in reference to official statements about the Vietnam War.
credible (adj.) Look up credible at
"believable," late 14c., from Latin credibilis "worthy to be believed," from credere "to believe" (see credo). Related: Credibly.
credit (n.) Look up credit at
1520s, from Middle French crédit (15c.) "belief, trust," from Italian credito, from Latin creditum "a loan, thing entrusted to another," from past participle of credere "to trust, entrust, believe" (see credo). The commercial sense was the original one in English (creditor is mid-15c.). Meaning "honor, acknowledgment of merit," is from c. 1600. Academic sense of "point for completing a course of study" is 1904. Movie/broadcasting sense is 1914. Credit rating is from 1958; credit union is 1881, American English.
credit (v.) Look up credit at
1540s, from credit (n.). Related: Credited; crediting.
credit card Look up credit card at
1952 in the modern sense; the phrase was used late 19c. to mean "traveler's check."
creditable (adj.) Look up creditable at
1520s, from credit (v.) + -able. Related: Creditably; creditability.
creditor (n.) Look up creditor at
mid-15c., from Anglo-French creditour, Old French creditour (early 14c.), from Latin creditor "truster, lender," from creditus, past participle of credere "to believe" (see credo).
credo (n.) Look up credo at
late 12c., from Latin, literally "I believe," first word of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, first person singular present indicative of credere "to believe," from PIE compound *kerd-dhe- "to believe," literally "to put one's heart" (source also of Old Irish cretim, Irish creidim, Welsh credu "I believe," Sanskrit śrad-dhā- "faith, confidence, devotion"), from PIE root *kerd- "heart." The nativized form is creed. General sense of "formula or statement of belief" is from 1580s.
credulity (n.) Look up credulity at
early 15c., from Old French credulité (12c.), from Latin credulitatem (nominative credulitas) "easiness of belief, rash confidence," noun of quality from credulus (see credulous).
credulous (adj.) Look up credulous at
1570s, from Latin credulus "that easily believes, trustful," from credere "to believe" (see credo). Related: Credulously; credulousness.
Cree Look up Cree at
1744, from phonetic rendering of Canadian French Cris, short for Christinaux, from Ojibwa (Algonquian) *kiristino, originally referring to a group in the Hudson Bay region.