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[kres-it] /ˈkrɛs ɪt/
a metal cup or basket often mounted on a pole or suspended from above, containing oil, pitch, a rope steeped in rosin, etc., burned as a light or beacon.
Origin of cresset
1325-75; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French craisset, equivalent to cras grease + -et -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cresset
Historical Examples
  • All day long the fight rages, and when night comes the torches gleam by the tents, and the cresset burns in the hall.

  • A splinter of fir was burning in the cresset, and the fire was lighted in the stove.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • Then he opened them again, and gradually he made out the figure of Nuala leaning over him, while a cresset shed light from above.

    Nuala O'Malley H. Bedford-Jones
  • The curtains in the cabin swayed to and fro, as did the cresset of the lamp.

    Ulric the Jarl William O. Stoddard
  • The broken door let them into a small courtyard, lit by a cresset.

  • She stood under the cresset's light like a rock, while Lucy, like a wave, fretted about her.

    Barbara Lynn Emily J. Jenkinson
  • Holdernesse's, her particular friend, from whence she removed to Kensington to a house Mr. cresset lent her.

    Lord Chatham Archibald Phillip Primrose Rosebery
  • The cresset moon was up in heaven—at least, Emma said it was—when we started.

  • From its height and conspicuous position, it was selected in 1549 for placing a cresset, for a fire beacon, upon its top.

  • His face was cruel and alert, and the light from the cresset played in red streaks upon his helmet.

    The Hill of Venus Nathan Gallizier
British Dictionary definitions for cresset


(history) a metal basket mounted on a pole in which oil or pitch was burned for illumination
Word Origin
C14: from Old French craisset, from craissegrease
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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