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a crescent-moon shape
a crescent (street)
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Clockwise from the dexter chief (the viewer's top left) : a heraldic crescent (gules), a crescent pendent (azure), a decrescent (tenné), and an increscent (vert).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (curved street): cres. (abbreviation)


From Middle English cressaunt, from Anglo-Norman cressaunt and Old French creissant (crescent of the moon) (French croissant), from Latin crēscēns, present active participle of crēscō (arise, thrive), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱreh₁- (to grow). See Old Armenian սերիմ (serim, be born) and սերեմ (serem, bring forth), Ancient Greek κόρη (kórē, girl) and κούρος (koúros, boy), Latin creāre (produce, create, bring forth) and Ceres (goddess of agriculture). Doublet of croissant.

The pronunciation with /z/ is a comparatively recent innovation due to the influence of words such as pheasant and present.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkɹɛ.zənt/, /ˈkɹɛ.sənt/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɹɛ.sənt/, /ˈkɹɛ.zənt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛsənt, -ɛzənt


crescent (plural crescents)

  1. The figure of the moon as it appears between its first or last quarter and the new moon, with concave and convex edges terminating in points.
  2. Something shaped like a crescent, especially:
    1. A curved pastry.
    2. A curved street, often presenting a continuous façade, as of row houses.
    3. (Islam) A representation of a crescent, used as a symbol of Islam.
      The Turkish flag features a white star and crescent on red base.
    4. (heraldry) The emblem of the waxing moon with horns directed upward, when used in a coat of arms; often used as a mark of cadency to distinguish a second son and his descendants.
  3. (New Zealand) A crescent spanner.
  4. (historical) Any of three orders of knighthood conferred upon foreigners to whom Turkey might be indebted for valuable services.
    • 1880, Elizabeth Stone, Sebastiani receives publicly the Sultan's thanks, and is decorated with the Order of the Crescent:
      Sebastiani receives publicly the Sultan's thanks, and is decorated with the Order of the Crescent
  5. A crescentspot butterfly.

Derived terms[edit]



crescent (not comparable)

  1. (dated, rare) marked by an increase; waxing, like the Moon.
  2. Shaped like a crescent.




crescent (third-person singular simple present crescents, present participle crescenting, simple past and past participle crescented)

  1. (transitive) To form a crescent shape
    • 1809, Anna Seward, “Letter VI. 195”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      A dark wood crescents more than half the lawn
  2. (transitive) To decorate with crescents.





  1. third-person plural future active indicative of crēscō