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[kraft, krahft] /kræft, krɑft/
noun, plural crafts or for 5, 8, craft.
an art, trade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill:
the craft of a mason.
skill; dexterity:
The silversmith worked with great craft.
skill or ability used for bad purposes; cunning; deceit; guile.
the members of a trade or profession collectively; a guild.
a ship or other vessel.
a number of ships or other vessels taken as a whole:
The craft were warned of possible heavy squalls.
aircraft collectively.
a single aircraft.
verb (used with object)
to make or manufacture (an object, objects, product, etc.) with skill and careful attention to detail.
Origin of craft
before 900; Middle English; Old English cræft strength, skill; cognate with German Kraft, Dutch kracht, Old Norse kraptr
Related forms
craftless, adjective
1. metier. 2. talent, ability. 3. craftiness, shrewdness, deceitfulness, deception.
Synonym Study
3. See cunning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for craft
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But how could you be a wise master without learning the craft?

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Yet I hold that the true art of my craft lies as much in the furnace as in the brush.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Nothing was said, but they got silently into the boat, which might have been Charon's craft for all he could see of it.

  • The least hesitation or a false movement, and both aviator and craft are in danger.

    Flying Machines W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
  • This craft was unfit for her duty, but time pressed, and no better offered.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for craft


skill or ability, esp in handiwork
skill in deception and trickery; guile; cunning
an occupation or trade requiring special skill, esp manual dexterity
  1. the members of such a trade, regarded collectively
  2. (as modifier): a craft guild
a single vessel, aircraft, or spacecraft
(functioning as pl) ships, boats, aircraft, or spacecraft collectively
(transitive) to make or fashion with skill, esp by hand
Word Origin
Old English cræft skill, strength; related to Old Norse kraptr power, skill, Old High German kraft
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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Word Origin and History for craft

Old English cræft, originally "power, physical strength, might," from Proto-Germanic *krab-/*kraf- (cf. Old Frisian kreft, Old High German chraft, German Kraft "strength, skill;" Old Norse kraptr "strength, virtue"). Sense expanded in Old English to include "skill, art, science, talent" (via a notion of "mental power"), which led to the meaning "trade, handicraft, calling." The word still was used for "might, power" in Middle English.

Use for "small boat" is first recorded 1670s, probably from a phrase resembling vessels of small craft and referring either to the trade they did or the seamanship they required, or perhaps it preserves the word in its original sense of "power."


Old English cræftan "to exercise a craft, build," from the same source as craft (n.). Meaning "to make skilfully" is from early 15c., obsolete from 16c., but revived c.1950s, largely in U.S. advertising and commercial senses. Related: Crafted; crafting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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