AskDefine | Define crescent

Dictionary Definition

crescent adj : resembling the new moon in shape [syn: crescent(a), crescent-shaped, semilunar, lunate] n : any shape resembling the curved shape of the moon in its first or last quarters

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. The figure of the moon as it appears in its first or last quarter, with concave and convex edges terminating in points.
  2. Something shaped like a crescent, especially:
    - A curved pastry.
    - A curved street, often presenting a continuous façade, as of row houses.

Translations

figure of the moon
  • Finnish: sirppi, kuunsirppi
  • French: croissant
  • Greek: ημισέληνος
  • Japanese: 月型, 月形
  • Serbian: polumesec
curved pastry
  • Finnish: voisarvi, croissant
  • French: croissant
  • Japanese: クロワッサン

Adjective

  1. crescent-shaped: Anything having the shape of a crescent or new moon
  2. marked by an increase, Waxing, as the moon;

Translations

crescent-shaped
marked by an increase
  • Finnish: kasvava

Related terms

Extensive Definition

For things named Crescent, see Crescent (disambiguation).
In art and symbolism, a crescent is generally the shape produced when a circular disk has a segment of another circle removed from its edge, so that what remains is a shape enclosed by two circular arcs of different diameters which intersect at two points (usually in such a manner that the enclosed shape does not include the center of the original circle).
In astronomy, a crescent is the shape of the lit side of a spherical body (most notably the Moon) that appears to be less than half illuminated by the Sun as seen by the viewer. Mathematically, assuming the terminator lies on a great circle, such a crescent will actually be the figure bounded by a half-ellipse and a half-circle, with the major axis of the ellipse coinciding with a diameter of the semicircle. The direction in which the "horns" (the points at the intersection of the two arcs) face indicates whether a crescent is waxing (also young, or increasing) or waning (also old, or decreasing). Eastward pointing horns (pointing to the left, as seen from the Northern hemisphere) indicate a waxing crescent, whereas westward pointing horns (pointing to the right, as seen from the Northern hemisphere) indicate a waning crescent. Note that the directions the horns point relative to the observer are reversed in the Southern hemisphere.
The crescent and star, while generally regarded as Islamic symbols today, have long been used in Asia Minor and by the ancient Turks, earlier than the advent of Islam. According to archaeological excavations, Göktürks used the crescent and star figure on their coins. The 1500-year-old coin includes three crescent moon figures and a star near a person.
The crescent was the symbol of the Sassanian Empire of Persia (Iran) and is prominently displayed on the crowns of its rulers. After the Arab conquest of that empire in 651 CE, it was gradually adopted by later caliphates and Muslim rulers as an established and recognized symbol of power in Western Asia. It was also a symbol of the Ottoman Empire. Though the crescent was originally a secular symbol of authority for Muslim rulers, it is now often used to symbolize the Islamic faith. However, it should be noted that the crescent was not a symbol used for Islam by Muhammad or any other early Muslim rulers, as the Islamic religion is, in fact, against appointing "Holy Symbols" (so that during the early centuries of Islam, Muslim authorities simply didn't want any geometric symbols to be used to symbolize Islam, in the way that the cross symbolizes Christianity, the menorah was a commonly-occurring symbol of Judaism, etc.). This is why early Islamic coins were covered with Arabic writing, but contained no visual symbols.
Despite this mixed history, many Islamic nations and charities use the crescent symbol on their flags or logos (e.g. Pakistan, The Red Crescent, etc. — though currently none of the Arab states in Arabia or the Mashreq have crescents on their flags). Therefore it could be argued that this usage is meant to signify Islamic identity or Muslim brotherhood.
Many Christian fundamentalists such as Jack Chick use this symbolism to make a claim that Allah was in fact Hubal who was, in turn, a moon-god worshipped by the pre-Islamic Arabs. This argument is sometimes used to argue that the god of Islam is different from that of the Jews or Christians.
Note that in the case of an astronomical crescent, such as the moon observed in the sky, the outer arc will be 180° (a half-circle as previously mentioned), while the Islamic crescent symbol (Arabic هلال hilāl) is generally shown with an outer arc significantly greater than 180° (as seen in the illustrations above).
The crescent moon is also a symbol associated with the Hindu's iconography: with the deity Shiva, who wears it at the top of his matted hair.
The crescent is also used as a heraldic symbol. However, this usage is not affiliated in any way with Islam. The roots of the Slavic crescent can be traced to the old Slavic pagan beliefs. In English and Canadian heraldry a crescent is the cadence mark of a second son.
The crescent symbol is also used to represent the moon in astronomy and astrology, and to represent silver (the metal associated with the moon) in alchemy, where, by inference, it can also be used to represent qualities that silver possesses. (Alchemy and Symbols, By M. E. Glidewell, Epsilon.)

See also

Notes

crescent in German: Mondsichel
crescent in Esperanto: Islama lunarko
crescent in Persian: هلال (نشانه)
crescent in Hebrew: סהר
crescent in Dutch: Wassende maan
crescent in Polish: Półksiężyc
crescent in Portuguese: Crescente
crescent in Simple English: Crescent
crescent in Finnish: Kuun sirppi
crescent in Turkish: Hilal

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Autobahn, Cynthian, S-shaped, US highway, achievement, alerion, alley, alleyway, animal charge, annulet, argent, armorial bearings, armory, arms, arterial, arterial highway, arterial street, artery, artificial satellite, autoroute, autostrada, avenue, azure, bandeau, bar, bar sinister, baton, bearings, belt highway, bend, bend sinister, biconcave, bicorn, billet, blazon, blazonry, blind alley, blooming, blossoming, bordure, boulevard, broad arrow, budding, burgeoning, bypass, byway, cadency mark, camino real, canton, carriageway, causeway, causey, chaplet, charge, chaussee, chevron, chief, circle, circumferential, circus, close, coat of arms, cockatrice, corduroy road, corniform, coronet, county road, court, crescendoing, crescent moon, crescent-shaped, crescentic, crescentiform, crescentlike, crest, cross, cross moline, crown, cul-de-sac, dead-end street, decrescent, decrescent moon, demilune, developed, device, difference, differencing, dike, dirt road, drive, driveway, eagle, ermine, ermines, erminites, erminois, escutcheon, expanding, expressway, falcate, falciform, falcon, fess, fess point, field, file, flanch, fleur-de-lis, florescent, flourishing, flowering, freeway, fret, full moon, full-fledged, full-grown, fully developed, fur, fusil, garland, gibbous moon, gravel road, griffin, growing, grown, grown-up, gules, gyron, half circle, half-moon, harvest moon, hatchment, helmet, hemicycle, heraldic device, highroad, highway, highways and byways, honor point, horn-shaped, horned, horseshoe, hypertrophied, impalement, impaling, increasing, incremental, increscent, increscent moon, inescutcheon, intensifying, interstate highway, label, lane, lengthening, lion, local road, lozenge, lunar, lunate, lunette, luniform, lunula, lunular, lunule, main drag, main road, mantling, marshaling, martlet, mascle, mature, menisciform, meniscoid, meniscus, metal, mews, moon, moon-shaped, moonlike, motorway, motto, mullet, multiplying, new moon, nombril point, octofoil, on the increase, or, orb of night, ordinary, orle, overdeveloped, overgrown, pale, paly, parkway, pave, paved road, pean, pheon, pike, place, plank road, primary highway, private road, proliferating, purpure, quadrant, quarter, quartering, queen of heaven, queen of night, right-of-way, ring road, road, roadbed, roadway, rose, route nationale, row, royal road, sable, saltire, satellite, scutcheon, scythe, secondary road, sector, semicircle, semicircular, semilunar, sextant, shield, sickle, sickle-like, sickle-shaped, sigmoid, silvery moon, snowballing, speedway, spread eagle, spreading, sprouting, state highway, street, subordinary, superhighway, swelling, tenne, terrace, the wandering Moon, thoroughfare, thriving, through street, thruway, tightening, tincture, toll road, torse, township road, tressure, turnpike, two-horned, unicorn, vair, vert, waning crescent moon, waning moon, waxing, waxing crescent moon, waxing moon, wet moon, wreath, wynd, yale
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