from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various large wading birds of the family Gruidae, having a long neck, long legs, and a long bill.
  • noun A similar bird, such as a heron.
  • noun A machine for hoisting and moving heavy objects by means of cables attached to a movable boom.
  • noun Any of various devices with a swinging arm, as in a fireplace for suspending a pot.
  • intransitive verb To hoist or move with or as if with a crane.
  • intransitive verb To strain and stretch (the neck, for example) in order to see better.
  • intransitive verb To stretch one's neck toward something for a better view.
  • intransitive verb To be irresolute; hesitate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To be stretched out like the neck of a crane.
  • Hence In hunting, to look before one leaps; pull up at a dangerous jump.
  • To stretch or bend (the neck) like a crane: as, he craned his neck to see what was on the other side of the pillar.
  • To cause to rise as by a crane: followed by up.
  • noun A large grallatorial bird with very long legs and neck, a long straight bill with pervious nostrils near its middle, the head usually naked, at least in part, the hind toe elevated, and the inner secondaries usually enlarged; any bird of the family Gruidæ.
  • noun Popularly and erroneously, one of sundry very large grallatorial birds likened to cranes, as herons and storks.
  • noun The constellation Grus (which see).
  • noun Same as crinet, 1.
  • noun Same as cran.
  • noun A crane mounted upon a car and fitted to run or traverse on a railway laid upon the ground, and either self-propelling or driven by a locomotive.
  • noun A machine for moving weights, having two motions, one a direct lift and the other horizontal.
  • noun A machine for weighing goods, constructed on the principle of the preceding. Such machines are common in market-towns in Ireland. See craner.
  • noun An iron arm or beam attached to the back or side of a fireplace and hinged so as to be movable horizontally, used for supporting pots or kettles over a fire.
  • noun pl. Naut., supports of iron or timber at a vessel's side for stowing boats or spars upon.
  • noun A siphon or bent pipe for drawing liquor out of a cask.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb to reach forward with head and neck, in order to see better.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A wading bird of the genus Grus, and allied genera, of various species, having a long, straight bill, and long legs and neck.
  • noun Any arm which swings about a vertical axis at one end, used for supporting a suspended weight.
  • noun A machine for raising and lowering heavy weights, and, while holding them suspended, transporting them through a limited lateral distance. In one form it consists of a projecting arm or jib of timber or iron, a rotating post or base, and the necessary tackle, windlass, etc.; -- so called from a fancied similarity between its arm and the neck of a crane See Illust. of Derrick.
  • noun An iron arm with horizontal motion, attached to the side or back of a fireplace, for supporting kettles, etc., over a fire.
  • noun A siphon, or bent pipe, for drawing liquors out of a cask.
  • noun (Naut.) A forked post or projecting bracket to support spars, etc., -- generally used in pairs. See Crotch, 2.
  • noun (Zoöl.), Local, U. S. The American blue heron (Ardea herodias).
  • noun (Zoöl.) a dipterous insect with long legs, of the genus Tipula.
  • noun See Derrick.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Adjutant, n., 3.
  • noun (Mach.) a crane mounted on wheels; esp., an overhead crane consisting of a crab or other hoisting apparatus traveling on rails or beams fixed overhead, as in a machine shop or foundry.
  • noun a kind of hydrant with a long swinging spout, for filling locomotive tenders, water carts, etc., with water.
  • transitive verb rare To cause to rise; to raise or lift, as by a crane; -- with up.
  • transitive verb To stretch, as a crane stretches its neck.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A large bird of the order Gruiformes and the family Gruidae having long legs and a long neck which it extends when flying.
  • noun A mechanical lifting device, often used for lifting heavy loads for industrial or construction purposes.
  • verb transitive To extend (one's neck).
  • verb transitive To raise or lower with a crane.

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

  • verb stretch (the neck) so as to see better
  • noun United States poet (1899-1932)
  • noun United States writer (1871-1900)
  • noun large long-necked wading bird of marshes and plains in many parts of the world
  • noun lifts and moves heavy objects; lifting tackle is suspended from a pivoted boom that rotates around a vertical axis


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

[Middle English, from Old English cran; see gerə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English cran, from Proto-Germanic *kran-, from Proto-Indo-European *gerh₂- (“to cry hoarsely”).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word crane.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • April 9th. -- We left our miserable sleeping-place before sunrise. The road passed through a narrow sandy plain, lying between the sea and the interior salt lagoons. The number of beautiful fishing birds, such as egrets and cranes, and the succulent plants assuming most fantastical forms, gave to the scene an interest which it would not otherwise have possessed. (Darwin, Voyage of the beagle)

    Darwin writes about cranes, while wikipedia states that they don't live in South Amerika.

    How is this possible?

    brian möhlmann

    October 2, 2009

  • For the measurement of herring, see cran.

    August 9, 2011