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

  • intransitive v. To break violently or noisily; smash.
  • intransitive v. To undergo sudden damage or destruction on impact: Their car crashed into a guardrail. The airplane crashed over the ocean.
  • intransitive v. To make a sudden loud noise: breakers crashing against the rocks.
  • intransitive v. To move noisily or so as to cause damage: went crashing through the woods.
  • intransitive v. To undergo a sudden severe downturn, as a market or economy.
  • intransitive v. Computer Science To stop functioning due to a crash.
  • intransitive v. Slang To undergo a period of unpleasant feeling or depression as an aftereffect of drug-taking.
  • intransitive v. Slang To find temporary lodging or shelter, as for the night.
  • intransitive v. Slang To go to sleep.
  • transitive v. To cause to crash.
  • transitive v. To dash to pieces; smash.
  • transitive v. Informal To join or enter (a party, for example) without invitation.
  • n. A sudden loud noise, as of an object breaking.
  • n. A smashing to pieces.
  • n. A collision, as between two automobiles. See Synonyms at collision.
  • n. A sudden severe downturn: a market crash; a population crash.
  • n. Computer Science A sudden failure of a hard drive caused by damaging contact between the head and the storage surface, often resulting in the loss of data on the drive.
  • n. Computer Science A sudden failure of a program or operating system, usually without serious consequences.
  • n. Slang Mental depression after drug-taking.
  • adj. Informal Of or characterized by an intensive effort to produce or accomplish: a crash course on income-tax preparation; a crash diet.
  • idiom crash and burn Slang To fail utterly.
  • idiom crash and burn Slang To fall asleep from exhaustion.
  • idiom crash and burn Slang To wipe out, as in skateboarding.
  • n. A coarse, light, unevenly woven fabric of cotton or linen, used for towels and curtains.
  • n. Starched reinforced fabric used to strengthen a book binding or the spine of a bound book.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An automobile, airplane, or other vehicle accident.
  • n. A computer malfunction that is caused by faulty software, and makes the system either partially or totally inoperable.
  • n. A loud sound as made for example by cymbals.
  • n. A sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures)
  • n. A comedown of a drug.
  • n. A group of rhinoceroses.
  • n. dysphoria
  • adj. quick, fast, intensive
  • v. To collide with something destructively, fall or come down violently.
  • v. To severely damage or destroy something by causing it to collide with something else.
  • v. (via gatecrash) To attend a social event without invitation.
  • v. To accelerate a project or a task or its schedule by devoting more resources to it.
  • v. To make or experience informal temporary living arrangements.
  • v. To terminate extraordinarily.
  • v. To cause to terminate extraordinarily.
  • v. To experience a period of depression and/or lethargy after a period of euphoria, as after the euphoric effect of a psychotropic drug has dissipated.
  • n. Plain linen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A loud, sudden, confused sound, as of many things falling and breaking at once.
  • n. Ruin; failure; sudden breaking down, as of a business house or a commercial enterprise.
  • n. Coarse, heavy, narrow linen cloth, used esp. for towels.
  • intransitive v. To make a loud, clattering sound, as of many things falling and breaking at once; to break in pieces with a harsh noise.
  • intransitive v. To break with violence and noise.
  • transitive v. To break in pieces violently; to dash together with noise and violence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a loud, clattering, complex sound, as of many solid things falling and breaking together; fall down or in pieces with such a noise.
  • To cause to make a sudden, violent sound, as of breaking or dashing in pieces; dash down or break to pieces violently with a loud noise; dash or shiver with tumult and violence.
  • n. A loud, harsh, multifarious sound, as of solid or heavy things falling and breaking together: as, the crash of a falling tree or a falling house, or any similar sound.
  • n. A falling down or in pieces with a loud noise of breaking parts; hence, figuratively, destruction; breaking up; specifically, the failure of a commercial undertaking; financial ruin.
  • n. A basket filled with fragments of pottery or glass, used in a theater to simulate the sound of the breaking of windows, crockery, etc.
  • n. A strong, coarse linen fabric used for toweling, for packing, and for dancing-cloths to cover carpets.
  • n. A piece or covering of this material, as a dancing-cloth.

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

  • v. break violently or noisily; smash
  • v. occupy, usually uninvited
  • n. a serious accident (usually involving one or more vehicles)
  • v. make a sudden loud sound
  • n. a loud resonant repeating noise
  • v. undergo damage or destruction on impact
  • n. the act of colliding with something
  • n. a sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures)
  • v. enter uninvited; informal
  • n. (computer science) an event that causes a computer system to become inoperative
  • v. undergo a sudden and severe downturn
  • v. cause to crash
  • v. fall or come down violently
  • v. hurl or thrust violently
  • v. move violently as through a barrier
  • v. stop operating
  • v. move with, or as if with, a crashing noise
  • v. sleep in a convenient place


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

Middle English crasschen; probably akin to crasen, to shatter; see craze.
From Russian krashenina, colored linen, from krashenie, coloring, from krasit', to color; see ker-3 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English crasschen ("to break into pieces"), of unknown origin, possibly onomatopoeia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Russian крашенина (krašenína, "coarse linen").


  • The _crash, crash, crash, crash_ of four heavy shells, one following another almost as quickly as you would read the words, focused all one's attention on that point.

    Letters from France

  • You can just hear, through the crash, the shriek of a third and fourth shell as they come tearing down the vault of heaven -- _crash -- crash_.

    Letters from France

  • For some odd reason, people who work in a field where the word crash brings to mind human injury rather than balky software tend to work slowly and methodically. Top Stories

  • In a four-stroke engine to see dirt bike is sturdy and durable, perfect for a rookie pilot who is likely to be familiar with the term crash and burn.


  • He thinks the crash is the best thing that ever happened to him, that he now can eat the strawberries he was previously seriously allergic to, that he can truly savor life, that he's already dead, that he's invulnerable - he walks through traffic, shouting to the sky, "You want to kill me, but you can't!", and throws away his son's videogame because in real life people don't come back to life.

    this is it. this is the moment of your death.

  • In fact, all I really remember of the crash is a long time of crunching and jolting, just before something tore open my door and sent me hurtling out into empty space, that swallowed me up in a black abyss.

    Juvenalia II: Action!

  • Another critical piece of evidence concerning the nature of this crash is the relatively large section of anti-G garment that was recovered unburned with the zipper still closed.

    19 New POW Cases

  • Whether you start out cautious or excited, the crash is the same either way.

    Repetitive Virginity

  • CNN's Richard Quest got what they call a crash course.

    CNN Transcript Mar 9, 2009

  • Since that time, just as brokers have eschewed the word crash, economists have avoided the word recession, especially those in which hair is curled to depression levels.

    No Uncertain Terms


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  • "accident" versus "crash"

    See Matt Richtel, 

    It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead

    , N.Y. Times, May 22, 2016.

    “When you use the word ‘accident,’ it’s like, ‘God made it happen,’ ” Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at a driver safety conference this month at the Harvard School of Public Health.

    . . .

    Almost all crashes stem from driver behavior like drinking, distracted driving and other risky activity. About 6 percent are caused by vehicle malfunctions, weather and other factors.

    . . .

    Dr. Rosekind has added his voice to a growing chorus of advocates who say that the persistence of crashes . . . can be explained in part by widespread apathy toward the issue. 

    Changing semantics is meant to shake people, particularly policy makers, out of the implicit nobody’s-fault attitude that the word “accident” conveys, they said.

    Id. Interesting historical note:

    The word was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job, according to Peter Norton, a historian and associate professor at the University of Virginia's department of engineering.

    . . .

    When traffic deaths spiked in the 1920s, a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the word to shift the focus away from the cars themselves. "Automakers were very interested in blaming reckless drivers," Dr. Norton said.

    But over time, he said, the word has come to exonerate the driver, too, with "accident" seeming like a lightning strike, beyond anyone's control."


    See Drop the 'A' Word blog, The blog's tagline:

    Not all crashes are "accidents". Crimes are not "accidents". It's not an "accident" when a person makes a decision to drive drunk, distracted, or in a negligent manner. Stop giving criminals a pass by calling it an "accident".


    See Crash not Accident website.

    May 25, 2016

  • In the running for 2nd best movie ever...(in my opinion, of course). Maybe I should have categories...

    September 20, 2008

  • Coarse, heavy, narrow linen cloth, used esp. for towels.

    December 26, 2007