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  • IPA(key): /ˈkɹæni/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æni

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English crany, crani (cranny), apparently a diminutive of *cran (+ -y), from Old French cran, cren (notch, fissure), a derivative of crener (to notch, split), from Medieval Latin crenō (split, verb), from Vulgar Latin *crinō (split, break, verb), of obscure origin. Despite a spurious use in Pliny, connection to Latin crēna is doubtful. Instead, probably of Germanic or Celtic origin. Compare Old High German chrinna (notch, groove, crevice), Alemannic German Krinne (small crack, channel, groove), Low German karn (notch, groove, crevice, cranny), Old Irish ara-chrinin (to perish, decay).


cranny (plural crannies)

  1. A small, narrow opening, fissure, crevice, or chink, as in a wall, or other substance.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 2, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299:
      What a pity they didn’t stop up the chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there.
    • (Can we date this quote by Arbuthnot and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      He peeped into every cranny.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      In a firm building, the cavities ought not to be filled with rubbish, but with brick or stone fitted to the crannies.
  2. A tool for forming the necks of bottles, etc.
Related terms[edit]


cranny (third-person singular simple present crannies, present participle crannying, simple past and past participle crannied)

  1. (intransitive) To break into, or become full of, crannies.
    • 1567, Arthur Golding: Ovid's Metamophoses; Bk. 2, line 333
      The ground did cranie everie where and light did pierce to hell.
  2. (intransitive) To haunt or enter by crannies.
    • (Can we date this quote by Byron and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      All tenantless, save to the crannying wind.

Etymology 2[edit]

Perhaps for cranky.


cranny (comparative more cranny, superlative most cranny)

  1. (Britain, dialect) quick; giddy; thoughtless
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for cranny in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)