AskDefine | Define cruet

Dictionary Definition

cruet n : bottle that holds wine or oil or vinegar for the table [syn: crewet]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. A small bottle or container used to hold a condiment, such as salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar, for use at a dining table.
  2. A stand for these containers.
  3. A small vessel used to hold wine or water for the Eucharist.

Extensive Definition

For the town in France, see Cruet, France, Savoie.
A cruet, (pronounced kroo-it), is a small flask shaped vessel, usually made with an integral lip or spout and a stopper or lid. It is a flat-bottomed with a narrow neck, and may also have a handle incorporated in its design. It is similar to a carafe only cruets have stoppers or lid covers. As applied to the culinary world, cruets are small bottles used for serving liquid condiments such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cruets also serve as decanters for lemon juice, garlic juice, and other fine gourmet oils. Cruets are normally made from glass, ceramic, or stainless steel composition.
Cruets may be traced back to the Biblical use of a "cruse of oil," a jug or jar to hold liquid (i.e. I Kings 17:16). It is usually accepted the early use of cruets was ecclesiastical , and a few medieval examples still exist today. Its culinary use however was first introduced in the late 17th century. It was chronicled that Cardinal Mazzarino had a pair of salad cruets on his dining table at his home in France . One cruet was for olive oil and the other for vinegar, these became indispensable partner decanter pieces. The use of oil and vinegar cruets rapidly spread throughout Italy, where oil and vinegar were already in frequent use. Today on most Italian tables, cruets are ever present.
Cruets range from nominal decanters to the highly decorative cut-crystal. Some cruets are unusual, others are both unique and elegant, yet cruets serve as ornamental and functional home accessories. The high-quality pieces are considered collector heirlooms by some people.
A cruet is a small container used to keep wine and water during the celebration of Holy Mass. Although predominantly used by Roman Catholics, other Christian denominations and schisms use them as well. They are usually made of glass, though sometimes they are made of precious metals such as gold or silver.
Cruets comes in pairs, one to contain water and one to contain Altar Wine (a special wine made only for the Eucharist, which contains a much lower alcohol percentage than other wines). These two liquids are mingled together in the chalice during the Eucharist in commemoration of the Last Supper. The cruet containing water is marked A for Aqua and the one containing the wine, V for Vinum.
Cruets usually come with covers to shield their contents from contamination by dust and insects, but in the absence of a cover, a cloth can be used.
cruet in German: Messkännchen
cruet in Spanish: Vinajera
cruet in French: Burettes
cruet in Dutch: Ampul (mis)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Agnus Dei, Holy Grail, Host, Pieta, Sanctus bell, Sangraal, ark, asperger, asperges, aspergillum, bambino, beadroll, beads, calabash, candle, canteen, carafe, carboy, caster, censer, chalice, chaplet, chrismal, chrismatory, ciborium, cross, crucifix, cruse, decanter, demijohn, eucharistial, ewer, fifth, flacon, flagon, flask, flasket, font, gourd, hipflask, holy cross, holy water, holy-water font, holy-water sprinkler, hot-water bottle, icon, incensory, jar, jeroboam, jug, lota, magnum, matzo, menorah, mezuzah, mikvah, monstrance, mussuk, olla, osculatory, ostensorium, paschal candle, pax, phial, phylacteries, prayer shawl, prayer wheel, pyx, relics, reliquary, rood, rosary, sacramental, sacred relics, sacring bell, shofar, stoup, sukkah, tabernacle, tallith, thurible, urceole, vacuum bottle, veronica, vial, vigil light, votive candle
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