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A bird; a crow: American crow
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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English crowe, from Old English crāwe, from Proto-Germanic *krāwō (compare West Frisian krie, Dutch kraai, German Krähe), from *krāhaną ‘to crow’. See below.


crow (plural crows)

  1. A bird, usually black, of the genus Corvus, having a strong conical beak, with projecting bristles; it has a harsh, croaking call.
    • 1922, E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroborus:
      Gaslark in his splendour on the golden stairs saying adieu to those three captains and their matchless armament foredoomed to dogs and crows on Salapanta Hills.
  2. A bar of iron with a beak, crook, or claw; a bar of iron used as a lever; a crowbar.
    • 1796, Matthew Lewis, The Monk, Folio Society, published 1985, page 267:
      He approached the humble tomb in which Antonia reposed. He had provided himself with an iron crow and a pick-axe: but this precaution was unnecessary.
    Synonyms: crowbar
  3. The cry of the rooster.
    Synonyms: cock-a-doodle-doo
  4. A gangplank (corvus) used by the Roman navy to board enemy ships.
  5. (among butchers) The mesentery of an animal.
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Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Middle English crowen, from Old English crāwan (past tense crēow, past participle crāwen), from Proto-Germanic *krēaną (compare Dutch kraaien, German krähen), from Proto-Indo-European *greh₂- ‘to caw, croak’ (compare Lithuanian gróti, Russian гра́ять (grájatʹ)). Related to croak.


crow (third-person singular simple present crows, present participle crowing, simple past crowed or (UK) crew, past participle crowed)

  1. To make the shrill sound characteristic of a rooster; to make a sound in this manner, either in joy, gaiety, or defiance.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Shakespeare, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      The morning cock crew loud.
    • 1962, Bob Dylan (lyrics and music), “Don't Think Twice, It's All Right”, in The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan:
      When your rooster crows at the break o' dawn / Look out your window and I'll be gone.
  2. To shout in exultation or defiance; to brag.
    • 2017 September 27, Julianne Tveten, “Zucktown, USA”, in The Baffler[1]:
      Touting its sponsorship of local engineering and sustainability programs, Amazon crows about such “investments” as its dog park, playing fields, art installations, and Buckyball-reminiscent domical gardens.
    Synonyms: brag
    He's been crowing all day about winning the game of cards.
  3. To utter a sound expressive of joy or pleasure.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Tennyson, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      the sweetest little maid that ever crowed for kisses
    • 1913, D.H. Lawrence, chapter 2, in Sons and Lovers:
      Hearing the miner's footsteps, the baby would put up his arms and crow.
  4. (music) To test the reed of a double reed instrument by placing the reed alone in the mouth and blowing it.
Usage notes[edit]

The past tense crew in modern usage is confined to literary and metaphorical uses, usually with reference (conscious or unconscious) to the story of Peter in Luke 22.60.