a. A homogenous solid formed by a repeating, three-dimensional pattern of atoms, ions, or molecules and having fixed distances between constituent parts.
b. The unit cell of such a pattern.
2. A mineral, especially a transparent form of quartz, having a crystalline structure, often characterized by external planar faces.
a. A natural or synthetic crystalline material having piezoelectric or semiconducting properties.
b. An electrical or electronic device that makes use of such a material, thereby allowing it to receive radio transmissions.
a. A high-quality, clear, colorless glass.
b. An object, especially a vessel or ornament, made of such glass.
c. Such objects considered as a group.
5. A clear glass or plastic protective cover for the face of a watch or clock.
6. Slang A stimulant drug, usually methamphetamine, in its powdered form.
Clear or transparent: a crystal lake; the crystal clarity of their reasoning. See Synonyms at clear.
[Middle English cristal, from Old French, from Latin crystallum, from Greek krustallos, ice, crystal; see kreus- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)crystal
Axes of symmetry in the seven main crystal systems are depicted using different colors. Within each crystal, axes having the same color are of equal length.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.