a. A usually ornamental tuft, ridge, or similar projection on the head of a bird or other animal.
b. An elevated, irregularly toothed ridge on the stigmas of certain flowers.
c. A ridge or an appendage on a plant part, such as on a leaf or petal.
a. A plume used as decoration on top of a helmet.
b. A helmet.
a. Heraldry A device placed above the shield on a coat of arms.
b. A representation of such a device.
a. The top, as of a hill or wave.
b. The highest or culminating point; the peak: the crest of a flood; at the crest of her career.
5. The ridge on a roof.
v. crest·ed, crest·ing, crests
1. To decorate or furnish with a crest.
2. To reach the crest of: crested the ridge.
1. To form into a crest or crests: waves cresting over the seawall.
2. To reach a crest: The swollen river crested at 9:15.
[Middle English creste, from Old French, from Latin crista; see sker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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.