verb (used with object), crys·taled, crys·tal·ing or (especially British) crys·talled, crys·tal·ling.

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 formscrys·tal·like, adjectiveun·crys·taled, adjectiveun·crys·talled, adjective




a city in SE Minnesota, near Minneapolis.
a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crystal

Contemporary Examples of crystal

Historical Examples of crystal

  • A stream of water, pure as crystal, flowed along the path, from the summit to the base.


    Lydia Maria Child

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

  • 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 crystalscrystal structure; crystal lattice


resembling crystal; transparentcrystal water

Word Origin for crystal

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

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

crystal in Medicine




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

crystal in Science



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.
Related formscrystalline adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

crystal in Culture


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.


Most minerals are crystalline structures.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.