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[kres-it] /ˈkrɛs ɪt/
a metal cup or basket often mounted on a pole or suspended from above, containing oil, pitch, a rope steeped in rosin, etc., burned as a light or beacon.
Origin of cresset
1325-75; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French craisset, equivalent to cras grease + -et -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cresset
Historical Examples
  • A splinter of fir was burning in the cresset, and the fire was lighted in the stove.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • The broken door let them into a small courtyard, lit by a cresset.

  • The curtains in the cabin swayed to and fro, as did the cresset of the lamp.

    Ulric the Jarl William O. Stoddard
  • She stood under the cresset's light like a rock, while Lucy, like a wave, fretted about her.

    Barbara Lynn Emily J. Jenkinson
  • The cresset moon was up in heaven—at least, Emma said it was—when we started.

  • At Lewannick, west of Lezant, a cresset stone has been preserved.

    Nooks and Corners of Cornwall C. A. Dawson Scott
  • Holdernesse's, her particular friend, from whence she removed to Kensington to a house Mr. cresset lent her.

    Lord Chatham Archibald Phillip Primrose Rosebery
  • Then he opened them again, and gradually he made out the figure of Nuala leaning over him, while a cresset shed light from above.

    Nuala O'Malley

    H. Bedford-Jones
  • His face was cruel and alert, and the light from the cresset played in red streaks upon his helmet.

    The Hill of Venus Nathan Gallizier
  • Its numberless narrow windows were all aglow, and in a cresset on one tower a fire was burning brightly.

    The White Blackbird Hudson Douglas
British Dictionary definitions for cresset


(history) a metal basket mounted on a pole in which oil or pitch was burned for illumination
Word Origin
C14: from Old French craisset, from craissegrease
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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