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[kreyn] /kreɪn/
any large wading bird of the family Gruidae, characterized by long legs, bill, and neck and an elevated hind toe.
(not used scientifically) any of various similar birds of other families, as the great blue heron.
Machinery. a device for lifting and moving heavy weights in suspension.
any of various similar devices, as a horizontally swinging arm by a fireplace, used for suspending pots over the fire.
Movies, Television. a vehicle having a long boom on which a camera can be mounted for taking shots from high angles.
Nautical. any of a number of supports for a boat or spare spar on the deck or at the side of a vessel.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Grus.
verb (used with object), craned, craning.
to hoist, lower, or move by or as by a crane.
to stretch (the neck) as a crane does.
verb (used without object), craned, craning.
to stretch out one's neck, especially to see better.
to hesitate at danger, difficulty, etc.
Origin of crane
before 1000; Middle English; Old English cran; cognate with German Kran, Greek géranos Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for craning
Historical Examples
  • Here they behold the faithful Biddy, craning her long neck up and down the road, and filled with wildest anxiety.

    Mrs. Geoffrey Duchess
  • The crowd was craning and eyeing the gyrating balls expectantly.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • The Supreme Intelligence picked the lock and the investigators walked in, craning their necks.

  • Rose was craning her neck to see out of the window's limited compass.

    To Love Margaret Peterson
  • He and the warriors were craning their heads toward the out-spreading branches.

  • Exclamations from the crowd, craning necks, peering eyes, murmurs.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • craning over he caught a glimpse of her returning along the lower piazza and vanishing.

    The Ghost Girl H. De Vere Stacpoole
  • There was a bustle among the audience, a sudden rising, a craning of necks.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
  • There was a silence of expectancy, and a turning of heads, a craning of necks.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • Alderson, who had been craning out of the door, drew back his head to speak.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for craning


any large long-necked long-legged wading bird of the family Gruidae, inhabiting marshes and plains in most parts of the world except South America, New Zealand, and Indonesia: order Gruiformes See also demoiselle (sense 1), whooping crane
(not in ornithological use) any similar bird, such as a heron
a device for lifting and moving heavy objects, typically consisting of a moving boom, beam, or gantry from which lifting gear is suspended See also gantry
(films) a large trolley carrying a boom, on the end of which is mounted a camera
(transitive) to lift or move (an object) by or as if by a crane
to stretch out (esp the neck), as to see over other people's heads
(intransitive) (of a horse) to pull up short before a jump
Word Origin
Old English cran; related to Middle High German krane, Latin grūs, Greek géranos


(Harold) Hart. 1899–1932, US poet; author of The Bridge (1930)
Stephen. 1871–1900, US novelist and short-story writer, noted particularly for his novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895)
Walter. 1845–1915, British painter, illustrator of children's books, and designer of textiles and wallpaper
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 craning



Old English cran "large wading bird," common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon krano, Old High German krano, German Kranich, and, with unexplained change of consonant, Old Norse trani), from PIE *gere- (cf. Greek geranos, Latin grus, Welsh garan, Lithuanian garnys "heron, stork"), perhaps echoic of its cry. Metaphoric use for "machine with a long arm" is first attested late 13c. (a sense also in equivalent words in German and Greek).


"to stretch (the neck)," 1799, from crane (n.). Related: Craned; craning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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craning in the Bible

(Isa. 38:14; Jer. 8:7). In both of these passages the Authorized Version has reversed the Hebrew order of the words. "Crane or swallow" should be "swallow or crane," as in the Revised Version. The rendering is there correct. The Hebrew for crane is _'agur_, the Grus cincerea, a bird well known in Palestine. It is migratory, and is distinguished by its loud voice, its cry being hoarse and melancholy.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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