cress (n.)
Old English cresse, originally cærse, from Proto-Germanic *krasjon- (cognates: Middle Low German kerse, karse; Middle Dutch kersse; Old High German kresso, German Kresse), from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric). It underwent a metathesis similar to that of grass. French cresson, Italian crescione are Germanic loan-words.
crest (n.)
early 14c., from Old French creste "tuft, comb" (Modern French crête), from Latin crista "tuft, plume," perhaps related to word for "hair" (such as crinis), but it also was used for crest of a cock or a helmet. Replaced Old English hris.
crest (v.)
late 14c., "provide with a crest," from Old French crester, from creste (see crest (n.)). Meaning "to come over the top of" is from 1832. Related: Crested; cresting.
crestfallen (adj.)
1580s, past participle adjective, but the verb crestfall is recorded only from 1610s, in reference to diseased horses, and is rare. It's possible that the image behind this use of the word is not cocks, as often is asserted, but horses.
cretaceous (adj.)
1670s, "chalky," from Latin cretaceus "chalk-like," from creta "chalk." As a geological period (with a capital C-), it was first used 1832. The extensive chalk beds of southeastern England were laid down during the Cretaceous.
Cretan (n.)
Old English Cretense (plural), from Latin Cretanus (singular); see Crete. They were proverbial in ancient times as liars; compare Greek kretismos "lying," literally "Cretan behavior."
Crete
traditionally said to be from Krus, name of a mythological ancestor; probably an ethnic name of some sort.
cretin (n.)
1779, from French crétin (18c.), from Alpine dialect crestin, "a dwarfed and deformed idiot" of a type formerly found in families in the Alpine lands, a condition caused by a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones, from Vulgar Latin *christianus "a Christian," a generic term for "anyone," but often with a sense of "poor fellow." Related: Cretinism (1801).
cretonne (n.)
1870, from French cretonne (1723), supposedly from Creton, village in Normandy where it originally was made.
crevasse (n.)
1823, of glaciers; 1814, of riverbanks (in that case from Louisiana French), from French crevasse, from Old French crevace "crevice" (see crevice). Essentially the same word as crevice, but re-adopted in senses for which the meaning that had taken hold in crevice was felt to be too small.
crevice (n.)
mid-14c., from Old French crevace (12c., Modern French crevasse) "gap, rift, crack" (also, vulgarly, "the female pudenda"), from Vulgar Latin *crepacia, from Latin crepare "to crack, creak;" meaning shifted from the sound of breaking to the resulting fissure.
crew (n.)
mid-15c., "group of soldiers," from Middle French crue (Old French creue) "an increase, recruit, military reinforcement," from fem. past participle of creistre "grow," from Latin crescere "arise, grow" (see crescent). Meaning "people acting or working together" is first attested 1560s. "Gang of men on a warship" is from 1690s. Crew-cut first attested 1938, so called because the style originally was adopted by boat crews at Harvard and Yale.
crewel (n.)
embroidery, 1590s, of unknown origin. Earliest usage is late 15c., as a name for a kind of thin, worsted yarn originally used in crewel work.
crib (n.)
Old English cribbe "manger, fodder bin in cowsheds and fields," from a West Germanic root (cognates: Old Saxon kribbia "manger;" Old Frisian and Middle Dutch kribbe; Old High German krippa, German Krippe "crib, manger") probably related to German krebe "basket." Meaning "child's bed with barred sides" is 1640s; probably from frequent use in reference to the manger where infant Jesus was laid. Thieves' slang for "dwelling house" dates to at least 1812, but late 20c. use probably is independent. The Old High German version passed to French and became creche.
crib (v.)
"steal," 17c. from crib (n.) in a secondary sense "a basket;" this probably also is the source of student slang meaning "plagiarize" (1778). Related: Cribbed; cribbing.
cribbage (n.)
the card game, 1620s, probably from crib "set of cards thrown from each player's hand," of uncertain origin, though this word is later than the game name.
crick (n.)
early 15c., of uncertain origin; OED says "probably onomatopœic."
cricket (n.1)
the insect, early 14c., from Old French criquet (12c.) "a cricket," from criquer "to creak, rattle, crackle," of echoic origin.
cricket (n.2)
the game, 1590s, apparently from Old French criquet "goal post, stick," perhaps from Middle Dutch/Middle Flemish cricke "stick, staff," perhaps from the same root as crutch. Sense of "fair play" is first recorded 1851, on notion of "cricket as it should be played."
cried
past tense and past participle of cry (v.).
crier (n.)
early 13c. as a surname; as an officer of the courts, late 13c., agent noun from cry (v.); town crier sense is late 14c.
crikey
exclamation, 1838, probably one of the many substitutions for Christ.
crime (n.)
mid-13c., "sinfulness," from Old French crimne (12c., Modern French crime), from Latin crimen (genitive criminis) "charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense," perhaps from cernere "to decide, to sift" (see crisis). But Klein (citing Brugmann) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have been "cry of distress" (Tucker also suggests a root in "cry" words and refers to English plaint, plaintiff, etc.). Meaning "offense punishable by law" is from late 14c. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by facen, also "deceit, fraud, treachery." Crime wave first attested 1893, American English.
criminal (adj.)
early 15c., from Middle French criminel (11c.), from Latin criminalis "pertaining to crime," from crimen (genitive criminis); see crime. Preserves the Latin -n-. Criminal law (or criminal justice) distinguished from civil in English at least since late 15c.
criminal (n.)
1620s, from criminal (adj.).
criminality (n.)
1610s, from French criminalité, from Medieval Latin criminalitas, from Latin criminalis (see criminal).
criminology (n.)
1890, from Latin stem of criminal + -ology. Criminologist is recorded from 1857.
criminy (interj.)
also crimine, 1680s; it looks like Italian crimine "crime" but likely is simply another euphemism for Christ as a swear-word.
crimp (v.)
1630s; Old English had gecrympan "to crimp, curl," but the modern word probably is from Middle Dutch or Low German crimpen/krimpen "to shrink, crimp." Related: Crimped; crimping.
crimp (n.)
1863, from crimp (v.). Originally "natural curl in wool fiber." To put a crimp in (something) is 1896, U.S. slang.
crimson (v.)
c.1600, from crimson (n.). Related: Crimsoned; crimsoning.
crimson (n.)
early 15c., "deep red color," from Old Spanish cremesin "of or belonging to the kermes" (the shield-louse insects from which a deep red dye was obtained), from Medieval Latin cremesinus (see kermes). For similar transfer of the dye word to generic use for "red," compare Old Church Slavonic čruminu, Russian čermnyj "red," from the same source.
crine (v.)
c.1500, "to shrink, shrivel," from Scottish English, from Gaelic crion "to whither."
cringe (v.)
early 13c., from causative of Old English cringan "give way, fall (in battle), become bent," from Proto-Germanic *krank- "bend, curl up" (cognates: Old Norse kringr, Dutch kring, German Kring "circle, ring"). Related: Cringed; cringing. As a noun from 1590s.
crinkle (v.)
late 14c., from frequentative of Old English crincan, variant of cringan "to bend, yield" (see cringe). Related: Crinkled; crinkling. As a noun from 1590s.
crinoid (adj.)
1836, Latinized from Greek krinoeides "lily-like," from krinon "lily" (a foreign word of unknown origin) + -oeides "like" (see -oid).
crinoline (n.)
1830, from French crinoline "hair cloth" (19c.), from Italian crinolino, from crino "horsehair" (from Latin crinis "hair") + lino "flax, thread," from Latin linum (see linen). So called from the warp and woof fibers of the original mixture.
Crip (n.)
member of a major U.S. street gang, founded in South Central Los Angeles 1971, the name supposedly originally was cribs, partly a reference to the youth of most of the original members, and when they began carrying "pimp canes" it was altered to Crip, which has been attested in U.S. slang as a shortening of cripple (n.) since 1918.
cripple (n.)
Old English crypel, related to cryppan "to crook, bend," from Proto-Germanic *krupilaz (cognates: Old Frisian kreppel, Middle Dutch cropel, German krüppel, Old Norse kryppill). Possibly also related to Old English creopan "to creep" (creopere, literally "creeper," was another Old English word for "crippled person").
cripple (v.)
mid-13c., "to move slowly," from cripple (n.). Meaning "make a cripple of, lame" is from early 14c. Related: Crippled; crippling.
crisis (n.)
early 15c., from Latinized form of Greek krisis "turning point in a disease" (used as such by Hippocrates and Galen), literally "judgment, result of a trial, selection," from krinein "to separate, decide, judge," from PIE root *krei- "to sieve, discriminate, distinguish" (cognates: Greek krinesthai "to explain;" Old English hriddel "sieve;" Latin cribrum "sieve," crimen "judgment, crime," cernere (past participle cretus) "to sift, separate;" Old Irish criathar, Old Welsh cruitr "sieve;" Middle Irish crich "border, boundary"). Transferred non-medical sense is 1620s in English. A German term for "mid-life crisis" is Torschlusspanik, literally "shut-door-panic," fear of being on the wrong side of a closing gate.
crisp (adj.)
Old English crisp "curly," from Latin crispus "curled, wrinkled, having curly hair," from PIE root *(s)ker- (3) "to turn, bend" (see ring (n.)). It began to mean "brittle" 1520s, for obscure reasons, perhaps based on what happens to flat things when they are cooked. Figurative sense of "neat, brisk" is from 1814; perhaps a separate word. As a noun, from late 14c. Potato crisps (the British version of U.S. potato chips) is from 1929.
crisp (v.)
late 14c., "to curl," from crisp (adj.). Meaning "to become brittle" is from 1805. Related: Crisped; crisping.
crispin (n.)
1640s, "shoemaker," in literary use only, from Ss. Crispin and Crispinian (martyred at Soissons, c.285 C.E.), patrons of shoemakers. French hagiographers make the brothers noble Romans who, while they preached in Gaul, worked as shoemakers to avoid living on the alms of the faithful. The name is Crispinus, a Roman cognomen, from Latin crispus "curly" (probably with reference to hair; see crisp).
crispy (adj.)
late 14c., "curly," from crisp (adj.) + -y (2). Meaning "brittle" is recorded from 1610s.
crisscross (v.)
1818, from Middle English crist(s)-crosse "Christ's cross" (late 15c.), earlier cros-kryst (late 14c.), "referring to the mark of a cross formerly written before the alphabet in hornbooks. The mark itself stood for the phrase Christ-cross me speed ('May Christ's cross give me success'), a formula said before reciting the alphabet" [Barnhart]. Used today without awareness of origin. As an adjective, 1846; as a noun, 1848.
Cristina
fem. proper name, the native form of Latin Christiana, fem. of Christianus (see Christian). In the Middle Ages, the masculine form of the name (Cristian) was less popular in England than the feminine, though Christian was common in Brittany. Surnames Christie, Chrystal, etc. represent common Northern and Scottish pet forms of the names.
crit
shortening of criticism, from 1908; shortening of critical from 1957 (originally among nuclear physicists).
criteria (n.)
1620s, plural of criterion (q.v.).
criterion (n.)
1660s, from Latinized form of Greek kriterion "means for judging, standard," from krites "judge," from PIE root *krei- (see crisis). Used in English as a Greek word from 1610s.