December 11, 2011
crevasse (noun)
\krih-VASS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a deep crevice (as in a glacier)
How do you use it?
She is spending the winter learning how to climb glaciers and safely cross crevasses.
Are you a word wiz?

What language did we borrow "crevasse" from?

"Crevasse" was borrowed into English from French in the early 1800s, along with other hiking terms like "glacier" and "ravine." Many hiking and climbing terms come into English from French and German; the Alps provided lots of opportunity for climbing in Europe, and it became a popular recreational sport in Western Europe. Interestingly, "crevice" is not a borrowing from Modern French. It is ultimately from a Latin verb that means "to crack"--but it did come into English through Medieval French.
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