[ kroo ]
/ kru /
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verb (used with object)
to serve as a member of a crew on (a ship, aircraft, etc.).
to obtain or employ a crew for (a ship, aircraft, etc.).
verb (used without object)
to serve as a member of a crew.
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True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of crew

1425–75; late Middle English crewe augmentation, hence reinforcements, body of soldiers <Middle French creue, literally, increase, noun use of feminine of Old French creu, past participle of creistre to grow <Latin crēscere;see crescent

grammar notes for crew


crewless, adjective

Other definitions for crew (2 of 2)

[ kroo ]
/ kru /

a simple past tense of crow2.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of crew?

A crew is a group of people who work together. Crew can also be used more generally to mean any crowd of people or as a verb to mean to serve as a member of a crew. Crew has a few other senses as a noun and a verb.

The word crew is mostly interchangeable with words like team, squad, or gang. However, crew is the specific term used to mean a cooperative group of people that operates a boat, an airplane, or a spacecraft. In any case, a crew usually has a person who is the leader or the captain. The word crewmember or crewman refers to a single individual within the crew.

  • Real-life examples: Boats are operated by a crew of sailors, airplanes are operated by pilots and the rest of the flight crew, and spacecraft are operated by a crew of astronauts. A building might be destroyed by a wrecking crew. A dance crew performs in front of people. Race cars are fixed by pit crews.
  • Used in a sentence: The boat was attacked by Captain Kidd and his crew of pirates. 

In this same sense, crew is used as a verb to mean to be a member of a crew.

  • Used in a sentence: I have crewed over a dozen boats since I became a sailor. 

Crew can also be generally used to mean any group or crowd of people.

  • Used in a sentence: I bought drinks for Jayden and his crew of friends. 

Where does crew come from?

The first records of crew come from around 1425. It ultimately comes from the Latin crēscere, meaning “to grow” or “to arise.”

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What are some other forms related to crew?

  • crewless (adjective)

What are some synonyms for crew?

What are some words that share a root or word element with crew

What are some words that often get used in discussing crew?

How is crew used in real life?

Crew is a common word that refers to a team or crowd of people.

Try using crew!

True or False?

The word crew is most often used to refer to the teams that operate boats, airplanes, and spacecraft.

How to use crew in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crew (1 of 2)

/ (kruː) /

noun (sometimes functioning as plural)
the men who man a ship, boat, aircraft, etc
nautical a group of people assigned to a particular job or type of work
informal a gang, company, or crowd
to serve on (a ship) as a member of the crew

Word Origin for crew

C15 crue (military) reinforcement, from Old French creue augmentation, from Old French creistre to increase, from Latin crescere

British Dictionary definitions for crew (2 of 2)

/ (kruː) /

a past tense of crow 2
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