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[kris-tl] /ˈkrɪs tl/
a clear, transparent mineral or glass resembling ice.
the transparent form of crystallized quartz.
Chemistry, Mineralogy. a solid body having a characteristic internal structure and enclosed by symmetrically arranged plane surfaces, intersecting at definite and characteristic angles.
anything made of or resembling such a substance.
a single grain or mass of a crystalline substance.
glass of fine quality and a high degree of brilliance.
articles, especially glassware for the table and ornamental objects, made of such a glass.
the glass or plastic cover over the face of a watch.
  1. the piece of germanium, silicon, galena, or the like forming the essential part of a crystal detector.
  2. the crystal detector itself.
Electronics. a quartz crystal ground in the shape of a rectangular parallelepiped, which vibrates strongly at one frequency when electric voltages of that frequency are placed across opposite sides: used to control the frequency of an oscillator (crystal oscillator) as of a radio transmitter.
Slang. any stimulant drug in powder form, as methamphetamine or PCP.
composed of crystal.
resembling crystal; clear; transparent.
Radio. pertaining to or employing a crystal detector.
indicating the fifteenth event of a series, as a wedding anniversary.
verb (used with object), crystaled, crystaling or (especially British) crystalled, crystalling.
to make into crystal; crystallize.
to cover or coat with, or as if with, crystal (usually followed by over).
Origin of crystal
before 1000; Middle English cristal(le), Old English cristalla < Medieval Latin cristallum, Latin crystallum < Greek krýstallos clear ice, rock crystal, derivative of krystaínein to freeze; see cryo-
Related forms
crystallike, adjective
uncrystaled, adjective
uncrystalled, adjective


[kris-tl] /ˈkrɪs tl/
a city in SE Minnesota, near Minneapolis.
a female given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for crystal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A stream of water, pure as crystal, flowed along the path, from the summit to the base.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • This crystal pallor or a flushed joy—in one of the two she was most beautiful.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • It was built in a perfect oval, and lighted from a crystal dome above.

    Tanglewood Tales Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Where it says, you know, "And he showed me a pure river of water, clear as crystal."

  • He strained his ears to listen, but the crystal was pretty much sound-proof.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
British Dictionary definitions for crystal


a piece of solid substance, such as quartz, with a regular shape in which plane faces intersect at definite angles, due to the regular internal structure of its atoms, ions, or molecules
a single grain of a crystalline substance
anything resembling a crystal, such as a piece of cut glass
  1. a highly transparent and brilliant type of glass, often used in cut-glass tableware, ornaments, etc
  2. (as modifier): a crystal chandelier
something made of or resembling crystal
crystal glass articles collectively
  1. a crystalline element used in certain electronic devices as a detector, oscillator, transducer, etc
  2. (as modifier): crystal pick-up, crystal detector
a transparent cover for the face of a watch, usually of glass or plastic
(modifier) of or relating to a crystal or the regular atomic arrangement of crystals: crystal structure, crystal lattice
resembling crystal; transparent: crystal water
Word Origin
Old English cristalla, from Latin crystallum, from Greek krustallos ice, crystal, from krustainein to freeze
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 crystal

Old English cristal "clear ice, clear mineral," from Old French cristal (12c., Modern French crystal), from Latin crystallus "crystal, ice," from Greek krystallos, from kryos "frost," from PIE root *kru(s)- "hard, hard outer surface" (see crust). Spelling adopted the Latin form 15c.-17c. The mineral has been so-called since Old English; it was regarded by the ancients as a sort of fossilized ice. As a shortened form of crystal-glass it dates from 1590s. As an adjective, from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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crystal in Medicine

crystal crys·tal (krĭs'təl)

  1. A homogenous solid formed by a repeating, three-dimensional pattern of atoms, ions, or molecules and having fixed distances between constituent parts.

  2. A mineral, especially a transparent form of quartz that has a crystalline structure and is often characterized by external planar faces.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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crystal in Science

  1. A homogenous solid formed by a repeating, three-dimensional pattern of atoms, ions, or molecules and having smooth external surfaces with characteristic angles between them. Crystals can occur in many sizes and shapes. ◇ The particular arrangement in space of these atoms, molecules, or ions, and the way in which they are joined, is called a crystal lattice. There are seven crystal groups or systems. Each is defined on the basis of the geometrical arrangement of the crystal lattice.

    1. A natural or synthetic material, such as quartz or ceramic, that consists of such crystals. When subjected to mechanical stresses, crystalline materials can generate an electric charge or, when subjected to an electric field, they can generate mechanical vibrations in what is known as the piezoelectric effect.

    2. An electrical device, such as an oscillator or a diode used for detecting radio signals, made of such a material.

crystalline adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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crystal in Culture

crystal definition

A material in which the atoms are arranged in a rigid geometrical structure (see geometry) marked by symmetry. Crystals often have clearly visible geometrical shapes.

Note: Most minerals are crystalline structures.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for crystal



Narcotics in powdered form, esp amphetamines; speed (1960s+ Narcotics)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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