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[kreyt] /kreɪt/
a slatted wooden box or framework for packing, shopping, or storing fruit, furniture, glassware, crockery, etc.
any completely enclosed boxlike packing or shipping case.
Informal. something rickety and dilapidated, especially an automobile:
They're still driving around in the old crate they bought 20 years ago.
a quantity, especially of fruit, that is often packed in a crate approximately 2 × 1 × 1 foot (0.6 × 0.3 × 0.3 meters):
a crate of oranges.
verb (used with object), crated, crating.
to pack in a crate.
Origin of crate
1350-1400; 1915-20 for def 3; Middle English, obscurely akin to Latin crātis wickerwork, hurdle
Related forms
recrate, verb (used with object), recrated, recrating.
uncrate, verb (used with object), uncrated, uncrating.
uncrated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for crate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The contents of each box, crate, and sack tell the familiar story once again.

    Inventors at Work George Iles
  • At first she had insisted he take the crate out to his workshop.

    Weak on Square Roots Russell Burton
  • As Brad carefully swung open the door, he lifted out the crate.

    Dan Carter Cub Scout Mildred A. Wirt
  • When they had given up, I boomed orders at them through a speaker in the crate.

    The Repairman Harry Harrison
  • But they will have to live in the crate overnight, as nothing can be done about housing them now.

    Natalie: A Garden Scout Lillian Elizabeth Roy
British Dictionary definitions for crate


a fairly large container, usually made of wooden slats or wickerwork, used for packing, storing, or transporting goods
(slang) an old car, aeroplane, etc
(transitive) to pack or place in a crate
Derived Forms
crater, noun
crateful, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin crātis wickerwork, hurdle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crate

"large box," 1680s, earlier "hurdle, grillwork" (late 14c.), from Latin cratis "wickerwork, lattice, kitchen-rack," or from Dutch krat "basket;" both perhaps from a common PIE root *kert- "to turn, entwine" (see hurdle (n.)).


"to put in a crate," 1871, from crate (n.). Related: Crated; crating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crate



  1. A car, bus, airplane, etc, esp an old rickety one •Seems to have been used for airplanes before cars; this may be because early airplanes were literally wooden and cloth crates: A ''crate'' is a ''junker'' with one surge left (1920+)
  2. A jail (1920s+ Hoboes)


To arrest and jail: We crate Major and they'll go. But they won't leave him there (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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