from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inexhaustible supply, oftentimes of something that appears meager.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the widow's cruse of oil that miraculously supplies Elijah during a famine (I Kings 17:8–16).


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


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

  • An inexhaustible supply of something: in allusion to the miracle of the cruse of oil in I Kings 17:10–16 and II Kings 4:1–7.

    July 18, 2008

  • Usage:

    "'You have all heard of the widow's cruse.' No single officer, seaman or Marine showed the least sign of having heard of the widow's cruse, nor any sign whatsoever of intelligence. 'Well,' continued Captain Aubrey, 'Diane shipped no widow's cruse. And by that I mean tomorrow is St. Famine's Day.' Comprehension, alarm, despondency, extreme displeasure showed in the faces of all the old man-of-war's men present; and the hum of whispered explanation kept Jack silent for a long moment. 'But it is not the worst St Famine I have ever known,' he went on. 'Although it is true that today's is the last issue of grog and the last cheese-paring scrap of tobacco, we still have a little biscuit and a cask of Dublin horse not very badly spoilt...'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 53

    A Sea of Words lists its meaning as:

    "A supply that, although apparently meager, is or seems to be inexhaustible. It is an allusion to I Kings 17:12–16, in which a widow feeds the prophet Elijah for many days from only a small pot of oil and a handful of meal." (p. 472)

    March 6, 2008