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crystal cruet set (1) on a stand (2)
silver cruets (3)

Alternative forms[edit]


Middle English, from Anglo-Norman cruet, diminutive of Old French crue (an earthen pot), from Old Saxon krūka.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɹu.ɪt/
  • (file)


cruet (plural cruets)

  1. A small bottle or container used to hold a condiment, such as salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar, for use at a dining table.
    Synonym: caster
    • 1846, Charles Dickens, “Rome”, in Pictures from Italy, London: [] Bradbury & Evans, [], →OCLC, page 223:
      "By Jupiter there's vinegar!" I heard him say to his friend, after he had stood on tiptoe an immense time, and had been crushed and beaten on all sides. "And there's oil!! I saw them distinctly, in cruets! Can any gentleman, in front there, see mustard on the table? Sir, will you oblige me! Do you see a Mustard-Pot?"
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter VIII, in Vanity Fair [], London: Bradbury and Evans [], published 1848, →OCLC:
      The sideboard was covered with glistening old plate—old cups, both gold and silver; old salvers and cruet-stands, like Rundell and Bridge's shop.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 17, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC:
      Mrs. Hussey soon appeared, with a mustard-pot in one hand and a vinegar-cruet in the other, having just broken away from the occupation of attending to the castors, and scolding her little black boy meantime.
    • 1905, Upton Sinclair, chapter V, in The Jungle, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, published 26 February 1906, →OCLC:
      It must always be done at night, so that Jurgis could go along; and even if it were only a pepper cruet, or half a dozen glasses for ten cents, that was enough for an expedition.
  2. (Britain) A stand for these containers.
    • 1931, Francis Beeding, “1/1”, in Death Walks in Eastrepps[1]:
      He [] even had a second slice of lamb, for he was hungry. During the meal, as was his custom, he read from a book propped up against the cruet.
  3. (Christianity) A small vessel used to hold wine or water for the Eucharist.

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