1. the highest part of a hill or mountain range; summit.
  2. the head or top of anything.
  3. a ridge or ridgelike formation.
  4. the foamy top of a wave.
  5. the point of highest flood, as of a river.
  6. the highest point or level; climax; culmination.
  7. a tuft or other natural growth on the top of the head of an animal, as the comb of a rooster.
  8. anything resembling or suggesting such a tuft.
  9. the ridge of the neck of a horse, dog, etc.
  10. the mane growing from this ridge.
  11. an ornament or heraldic device surmounting a helmet.
  12. a helmet.
  13. a ridge running from front to back along the top of a helmet; comb.
  14. Heraldry. a figure borne above the escutcheon in an achievement of arms, either on a helmet or by itself as a distinguishing device.
  15. Anatomy. a ridge, especially on a bone.
  16. a ridge or other prominence on any part of the body of an animal.
  17. Architecture. a cresting.
  18. Machinery. (in a screw or other threaded object) the ridge or surface farthest from the body of the object and defined by the flanks of the thread.Compare root1(def 15a).
verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with a crest.
  2. to serve as a crest for; crown or top.
  3. to reach the crest or summit of (a hill, mountain, etc.).
verb (used without object)
  1. to form or rise to a crest, as a wave or river.
  2. to reach the crest or highest level: Interest in the project has crested.

Origin of crest

1275–1325; Middle English creste < Old French < Latin crista
Related formscrest·ed, adjectivecrest·less, adjectivesub·crest, nounun·crest·ed, adjectiveun·der·crest, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for crests

Historical Examples of crests

  • Their hair was trimmed in the fashion of the crests of the ancient helmets.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • The crests of the hills are clothed with forests of pine and rich pastures.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • Bertha, Pietro, and the others got their crests and saw their names in the paper.

    'Charge It'

    Irving Bacheller

  • Crests appeared on the letter-heads and limousine doors of the newly rich.

    'Charge It'

    Irving Bacheller

  • The waves were beneath them; they lay now on the crests, now in the hollows, and there seemed no port.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for crests


  1. a tuft or growth of feathers, fur, or skin along the top of the heads of some birds, reptiles, and other animals
  2. something resembling or suggesting this
  3. the top, highest point, or highest stage of something
  4. a ridge on the neck of a horse, dog, lion, etc
  5. the mane or hair growing from this ridge
  6. an ornamental piece, such as a plume, on top of a helmet
  7. heraldry a symbol of a family or office, usually representing a beast or bird, borne in addition to a coat of arms and used in medieval times to decorate the helmet
  8. a ridge along the top of a roof, wall, etc
  9. a ridge along the surface of a bone
  10. Also called: cresting archery identifying rings painted around an arrow shaft
  1. (intr) to come or rise to a high point
  2. (tr) to lie at the top of; cap
  3. (tr) to go to or reach the top of (a hill, wave, etc)
Derived Formscrested, adjectivecrestless, adjective

Word Origin for crest

C14: from Old French creste, from Latin crista


  1. an electronic share-settlement system, created by the Bank of England and owned by 69 firms, that began operations in 1996

Word Origin for CREST

C20: from CrestCo, the name of the operating company
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

Word Origin and History for crests



early 14c., from Old French creste "tuft, comb" (Modern French crête), from Latin crista "tuft, plume," perhaps related to word for "hair" (e.g. crinis), but it also was used for crest of a cock or a helmet. Replaced Old English hris.



late 14c., "provide with a crest," from Old French crester, from creste (see crest (n.)). Meaning "to come over the top of" is from 1832. Related: Crested; cresting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

crests in Medicine


  1. A projection or ridge, especially of bone; cresta.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

crests in Science


  1. The part of a wave with greatest magnitude; the highest part of a wave. Compare trough. See more at wave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.