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[kres-uh nt] /ˈkrɛs ənt/
a shape resembling a segment of a ring tapering to points at the ends.
something, as a roll or cookie, having this shape.
  1. the figure of the moon in its first or last quarter, resembling a segment of a ring tapering to points at the ends.
  2. the similar figure of Mercury and Venus on either side of inferior conjunction, when seen through a telescope.
the emblem of Turkey or of Islam.
the power, religion, or civilization of Turkey or of Islam.
Also called Chinese crescent, Chinese pavilion, jingling Johnny, pavillon Chinois, Turkish crescent. a musical percussion instrument of Turkish origin, consisting of a pole bearing a crescent-shaped metal plate, topped with a pavillon, and hung with small bells.
Chiefly British.
  1. a curved street, often having solid façades of unified architectural design.
  2. the curve or curved portion of a street.
Heraldry. a representation of a crescent moon, horns upward unless otherwise specified, used as the cadency mark of a second son.
shaped like a crescent.
increasing; growing.
Origin of crescent
1350-1400; < Latin crēscent- (stem of crēscēns) present participle of crēscere to grow (see create, -esce); replacing Middle English cressaunt < Anglo-French < Latin as above
Related forms
[kri-sen-tik] /krɪˈsɛn tɪk/ (Show IPA),
subcrescentic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for crescent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dare you to wear your brother's coat without the crescent which should stamp you as his cadet.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • But was the "star and crescent" the symbol of the City of Constantine?

    The Non-Christian Cross John Denham Parsons
  • Diana had sped an arrow from her bow that is like the crescent moon.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • The crescent moon and the stars filtered down a tinsel light.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • There was one born in the sky, sir, the day I was christened with a Turkish crescent.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
British Dictionary definitions for crescent


/ˈkrɛsənt; -zənt/
the biconcave shape of the moon in its first or last quarters
any shape or object resembling this
(mainly Brit)
  1. a crescent-shaped street, often lined with houses of the same style
  2. (capital when part of a name): Pelham Crescent
(heraldry) a crescent moon, used as the cadency mark of a second son
(often capital) the crescent
  1. the emblem of Islam or Turkey
  2. Islamic or Turkish power
(archaic or poetic) increasing or growing
Derived Forms
crescentic (krəˈsɛntɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin crescēns increasing, from crescere to grow
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 crescent

late 14c., "crescent-shaped ornament," from Anglo-French cressaunt, from Old French creissant "crescent of the moon" (12c., Modern French croissant), from Latin crescentum (nominative crescens), present participle of crescere "come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell, increase in numbers or strength," from PIE root *ker- "to grow" (cf. Latin Ceres, goddess of agriculture, creare "to bring forth, create, produce;" Greek kouros "boy," kore "girl;" Armenian serem "bring forth," serim "be born").

Applied in Latin to the waxing moon, luna crescens, but subsequently in Latin mistaken to refer to the shape, not the stage. The original Latin sense is preserved in crescendo. A badge or emblem of the Turkish sultans (probably chosen for its suggestion of "increase"); figurative sense of "Muslim political power" is from 1580s, but modern writers often falsely associate it with the Saracens of the Crusades or the Moors of Spain. Horns of the waxing moon are on the viewer's left side; those of the waning moon are on his right.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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crescent in Medicine

crescent cres·cent (krěs'ənt)
Something having concave and convex edges terminating in points. adj.

cres·cen'tic (krə-sěn'tĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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crescent in Science
Partly but less than half illuminated. Used to describe the Moon or a planet. Compare gibbous.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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