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Etymology 1[edit]

First coined 1613, from Latin crater(basin), from Ancient Greek κρατήρ(kratḗr, mixingbowl, wassail-bowl).



crater ‎(plural craters)

  1. (astronomy) A hemispherical pit created by the impact of a meteorite or other object.
  2. (geology) The basin-like opening or mouth of a volcano, through which the chief eruption comes; similarly, the mouth of a geyser, about which a cone of silica is often built up.
  3. (informal) The pit left by the explosion of a mine or bomb.
  4. (informal) Any large, roughly circular depression or hole.
  5. Krater, an ancient Greek vessel for mixing water and wine.
    • 1941, Louis MacNeice, The March of the 10,000:
      The people of those parts lived in underground houses - more of dug-outs - along with their goats and sheep and they had great craters full of wine, barley-wine, that they drank through reeds.


Related terms[edit]




crater ‎(third-person singular simple present craters, present participle cratering, simple past and past participle cratered)

  1. To form craters in a surface (of a planet or moon)
  2. To collapse catastrophically; implode; hollow out; to become devastated or completely destroyed.
    The economy is about to crater. -- Attributed by David Letterman to Sen. John McCain. NYTimes blog
  3. (snowboarding) To crash or fall.
    He cratered into that snow bank about five seconds after his first lesson.

Etymology 2[edit]

Possibly a diminutive of cratur (dialect form of creature).



crater ‎(plural craters)

  1. (Ireland, informal, Britain, dialect) A term of endearment, a dote, a wretched thing.
    1843 - I then had the two best tarriers beneath the canopy; this poor crater is their daughter," and he patted the dog's head affectionately.
    William Hamilton Maxwell, Wild Sports of the West: With Legendary Tales, and Local Sketches , Publisher R. Bentley, page 77,
    1859 - She is a charming crater; I would venture to say that, if I was not her father.
    The British Drama: A Collection of the Most Esteemed Tragedies, Comedies ...
    1872 Thomas Hardy "Under the Greenwood Tree"
    "Then why not stop for fellow-craters -- going to thy own father's house too, as we be, and knowen us so well?"
Usage notes[edit]

This term is still commonly used in speech but rarely appears in modern writing.



Alternative forms[edit]


From the romanized form of the Ancient Greek (Doric) κρατήρ(kratḗr, mixingbowl, wassail-bowl) (Ionic) κρητήρ(krētḗr), from "to mix, mingle", from κεράννυμι(keránnumi, to mix, to mingle, to blend)



crātēr m ‎(genitive crātēris); third declension

  1. A basin or bowl for water or for mixing.
  2. The opening of a volcano.


Third declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative crātēr crātērēs
genitive crātēris crātērum
dative crātērī crātēribus
accusative crātērem crātērēs
ablative crātēre crātēribus
vocative crātēr crātērēs

Other forms are

  • Sg.:
    • Gen.: -os
    • Acc.: -a
  • Pl.:
    • Nom., Voc.: -es
    • Acc.: -es or -as


  • crater in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • crater in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • crater in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • crater in William Smith., editor (1854, 1857) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, volume 1 & 2, London: Walton and Maberly
  • crater in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin