Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bowl-shaped depression at the mouth of a volcano or geyser.
  • n. A bowl-shaped depression in a surface made by an explosion or the impact of a body, such as a meteoroid.
  • n. A pit; a hollow.
  • n. Variant of krater.
  • transitive v. To make craters in: "The missiles did not . . . crater the airfield” ( Tom Clancy).
  • intransitive v. To form a crater or craters.
  • intransitive v. Slang To fall and crash violently from a great height.
  • intransitive v. Slang To fail utterly: "talked about how tough times were in Texas since the oil business cratered” ( Stephen Coonts).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hemispherical pit created by the impact of a meteorite or other object.
  • n. The basinlike opening or mouth of a volcano, through which the chief eruption comes; similarly, the mouth of a geyser, about which a cone of silica is often built up.
  • n. The pit left by the explosion of a mine or bomb.
  • n. Any large, roughly circular depression or hole.
  • v. To collapse catastrophically; implode; hollow out; to become devastated or completely destroyed.
  • v. To crash or fall.
  • n. A term of endearment, a dote, a wretched thing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The basinlike opening or mouth of a volcano, through which the chief eruption comes; similarly, the mouth of a geyser, about which a cone of silica is often built up.
  • n. The pit left by the explosion of a bomb, shell, or mine.
  • n. A constellation of the southen hemisphere; -- called also the Cup.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. pl. crateres (krā˙-tē′ rēz). In classical antiquity, a large vessel or vase in which water was mixed with wine according to accepted formulas, and from which it was dipped out and served to the guests in the smaller pouring-vessels (oinochoe).
  • n. In geology, the cup-shaped depression or cavity of a volcano, forming the orifice through which the erupted material finds its way to the surface, or has done so in former times if the volcano is at present extinct or dormant.
  • n. Milit., a cavity formed by the explosion of a military mine.
  • n. Any hollow made in the earth by subterranean forces.
  • n. [capitalized] An ancient southern constellation south of Leo and Virgo. It is supposed to represent a vase with two handles and a base.
  • n. In electricity, a hollow cavity formed in the positive carbon of an arclamp when continuous currents are used.
  • n. A caldera.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a faint constellation in the southern hemisphere near Hydra and Corvus
  • n. a bowl-shaped geological formation at the top of a volcano
  • n. a bowl-shaped depression formed by the impact of a meteorite or bomb

Etymologies

Latin crātēr, from Greek krātēr, mixing vessel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First coined 1613, from Latin crater ("basin"), from Ancient Greek κρατήρ (kratēr, "mixingbowl, wassail-bowl"), from κράμα (krama, "mixture"), from κεράννυμι (kerannumi, "to mix, to mingle"). (Wiktionary)
Possibly a diminutive of cratur (dialect form of creature). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But isn't there a part of you that wishes that the shiny bottom of the crater is actually the exposed hull of the planet-sized interstellar spacecraft that has been waiting inside it's rocky camouflage for millions of years for intelligent life to discover and re-activate it?

    Odd craters on Mercury

  • If, however, it does break through, the newly-opened terrestrial stream generally flows in such a quiet and well-defined course, that the deep valley, which we term the crater, remains accessible

    COSMOS: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe, Vol. 1

  • The crater from the Ranger impact is not well defined in the existing film database, especially as it appears at the boundary between two framelets.

    NASA Watch: June 2009 Archives

  • This crater is surrounded by optically dark material, which has been interpreted as volcanic ash deposits.

    Lunar Serendipity - NASA Watch

  • The IDC fleet had recently been equipped with a new kind of battle cruiser, one that would prove to the rebels hiding out in crater bases on the moon that the government was still in control.

    365 tomorrows » B. York : A New Free Flash Fiction SciFi Story Every Day

  • On top of that, I think they call the crater Darth Crater.

    That’s no moon…! | My[confined]Space

  • In fact, a crater is quite the opposite of what they should have.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • "NASA illustrations" depict a stark burned-in crater underneath the LM descent engine (unrealisticly, and not in accordance with the local circumstances and laws of physics), there has to be one in real life too, and that the absence of same thus has to be "proof" for a faked landing.

    Boing Boing: October 29, 2006 - November 4, 2006 Archives

  • The crater is only 75 miles across so it comes to a point and that point, if you think about it, is about as high in the air as I would have been when the details of the planet started to become clear to me on my imaginary ship.

    SeeLight:

  • The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim.

    Boing Boing: July 31, 2005 - August 6, 2005 Archives

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