Crevasse vs. crevice

Crevices are small, usually narrow cracks or gaps in a surface. Think of the word as a synonym of splitcrackrent, and cranny. crevasse is a large fissure, especially in a glacier. The word’s synonyms include abyss and chasmCrevice and crevasse are not actually homophones—as crevice is pronounced KREV-iss, while crevasse is pronounced kruh-VOSS—but their similarity in sound and meaning makes them easy to confuse.

The words have a common origin—the Old French cravace—but they came to English at different times. Crevice has borne its modern meaning in English since the 14th century, whereas crevasse came to English in the 19th century via Alpine mountain-climbing lingo.

Examples

Once more an Alaskan snowmachine rider has plummeted into a glacier crevasse. [Alaska Dispatch]

There are crates and storage containers in every alcove and crevice of this basement, filled with miscellaneous mechanical parts. [Movie Hole]

All are found on limestone, but some appear on open scree, others in crevices while some crop up in coniferous woodland. [Telegraph]

The race, initially scheduled for last Thursday, was also delayed when a metre-wide crevasse formed in the makeshift runway at the North Pole. [Hamilton Spectator]

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