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[krey-ter] /ˈkreɪ tər/
the cup-shaped depression or cavity on the surface of the earth or other heavenly body marking the orifice of a volcano.
Also called impact crater, meteorite crater. (on the surface of the earth, moon, etc.) a bowl-shaped depression with a raised rim, formed by the impact of a meteoroid.
Compare astrobleme.
Astronomy. (on the surface of the moon) a circular or almost circular area having a depressed floor, almost always containing a central mountain and usually completely enclosed by walls that are often higher than those of a walled plain; ring formation; ring.
Compare walled plain.
the bowllike orifice of a geyser.
the hole or pit in the ground where a bomb, shell, or military mine has exploded.
Electricity. the cavity formed in a positive carbon electrode by an electric arc.
Greek and Roman Antiquity, krater.
Metalworking. a depression at the end of a bead produced by welding.
genitive Crateris
[krey-teer-is] /kreɪˈtɪər ɪs/ (Show IPA).
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Cup, a small southern constellation west of Corvus and north of Hydra.
verb (used with object)
to make craters in:
Bombs had cratered the landscape.
  1. to cancel, abandon, or cast aside:
    to crater the new project.
  2. to destroy or ruin:
    One more disappointment won't crater me.
verb (used without object)
to form a crater or craters:
The surface of the concrete cratered and cracked under the repeated impacts.
1605-15; < Latin < Greek krātḗr mixing bowl, literally, mixer, equivalent to krā- (base of kerannýnai to mix) + -tēr agentive suffix; cf. crasis
Related forms
crateral, craterous, adjective
craterlike, adjective
intercrater, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for craters
  • Then, when housing prices fall that wealth disappears and national consumption craters.
  • On second look those are probably craters rather than hills.
  • But even underground testing left craters and seismic convulsions.
  • Chapman says these giant craters are surprising in two ways.
  • They could be craters, they could be seas with water, they could be an old lady.
  • The area was bombed so heavily that even the craters were not delineated, as they generally are along the road.
  • Scientists can determine the age of a lunar landscape by counting the craters that have been blasted into its surface by meteors.
  • Traveling on foot, you'll explore rugged craters and lagoon waterfalls, freshwater ponds and tranquil sea coves.
  • The wet coastal plain is formed into large polygons that resemble moon craters.
  • There are potholes the size of craters but no sidewalks.
British Dictionary definitions for craters


the bowl-shaped opening at the top or side of a volcano or top of a geyser through which lava and gases are emitted
a similarly shaped depression formed by the impact of a meteorite or exploding bomb
any of the circular or polygonal walled formations covering the surface of the moon and some other planets, formed probably either by volcanic action or by the impact of meteorites. They can have a diameter of up to 240 kilometres (150 miles) and a depth of 8900 metres (29 000 feet)
a pit in an otherwise smooth surface
a large open bowl with two handles, used for mixing wines, esp in ancient Greece
to make or form craters in (a surface, such as the ground)
(slang) to fail; collapse; crash
Derived Forms
cratered, adjective
craterless, adjective
crater-like, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: mixing bowl, crater, from Greek kratēr, from kerannunai to mix


noun (Latin genitive) Crateris (ˈkreɪtərɪs)
a small faint constellation in the S hemisphere lying between Virgo and Hydra
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 craters



1610s, from Latin crater, from Greek krater "bowl for mixing wine with water," from kera- "to mix," from PIE root *kere- "to mix, confuse; cook" (see rare (adj.2)). Used in Latin for bowl-shaped mouth of a volcano. Applied to features of the Moon since 1860. As a verb, from 1830 in poetry, 1872 in science. Related: Cratered; cratering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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craters in Medicine

crater cra·ter (krā'tər)
A circular depression or pit in the surface of a tissue or body part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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craters in Science
  1. A bowl-shaped depression at the top of a volcano or at the mouth of a geyser. Volcanic craters can form because of magma explosions in which a large amount of lava is thrown out from a volcano, leaving a hole, or because the roof of rock over an underground magma pool collapses after the magma has flowed away.

  2. A shallow, bowl-shaped depression in a surface, formed by an explosion or by the impact of a body, such as a meteorite.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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