AskDefine | Define crayon

Dictionary Definition

crayon n : writing implement consisting of a colored stick of composition wax used for writing and drawing [syn: wax crayon] v : write, draw, or trace with a crayon

User Contributed Dictionary



From crayon "pencil"


  • /ˈkɹei.ɑn/
  • Schoolbook Phonetics: (krāʹän)
  • Last Resort Phonetics: KRAY-ahn
  • Rhymes: -eɪən


  1. a stick of colored chalk or wax used for drawing



  1. to draw with a crayon



From diminutive of craie "chalk", from creta



crayon de couleur

Extensive Definition

A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other materials used for writing and drawing. A crayon made of oiled chalk is called an oil pastel; when made of pigment with a dry binder, it is simply a pastel. A grease pencil or china marker (UK chinagraph pencil) is made of colored hardened grease and is useful for marking on hard, glossy surfaces such as porcelain or glass.
Wax crayons are commonly used for drawing and coloring by children. Crayons are a staple at most schools worldwide. They are easy to work with, not messy (as are paint and markers), blunt (removing the risk of sharp points present when using a pencil or pen), non-toxic, and are available in a wide variety of colors. You also can make your own crayons if you buy a special maker for them.


Europe was the birthplace of the “modern” crayon, a man-made cylinder that resembled contemporary sticks. The first such crayons are purported to have consisted of a mixture of charcoal and oil. Through time, powdered pigments of various hues replaced the charcoal. It was subsequently discovered that substituting wax for the oil in the mixture made the resulting sticks sturdier and easier to handle and to use.
The world's largest manufacturer and inventor of wax crayons is Crayola LLC (formerly Binney & Smith Inc.), the manufacturer of Crayola crayons, which are made of paraffin wax, a petroleum product. Soybean oil can also be used to make crayons, although this is not as common. The brand's first box of eight Crayola crayons made its debut in 1903. The crayons were sold for a nickel and the colors were: black, brown, blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, and green. The word Crayola was created by Alice Stead Binney, wife of Edwin Binney, who took the French words for chalk, craie, and oily, oléagineux, and combined them.


Some fine arts companies such as Swiss Caran d'Ache manufacture water-soluble crayons. With or without water, once applied to media the crayons' colors are easily mixed.
Jean-François Millet is an example of one artist who used conté crayon in his work.
crayon in Danish: Pastelkridt
crayon in German: Wachsmalstift
crayon in Spanish: Crayón
crayon in Lithuanian: Kreidelės
crayon in Dutch: Waskrijt
crayon in Japanese: クレヨン
crayon in Korean: 크레용
crayon in Polish: Kredka
crayon in Simple English: Crayon
crayon in Swedish: Kritor
crayon in Chinese: 蠟筆

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

air brush, art paper, black and white, brouillon, brush, camera lucida, camera obscura, canvas, cartoon, chalk, charcoal, charcoal drawing, chiaroscuro, delineation, design, diagram, doodle, draft, drawing, drawing paper, drawing pencil, drier, easel, ebauche, esquisse, fixative, graph, ground, lay figure, line drawing, maulstick, medium, paint, paintbrush, palette, palette knife, pastel, pen-and-ink, pencil, pencil drawing, pigments, rough copy, rough draft, rough outline, scratchboard, siccative, silhouette, silver-print drawing, sinopia, sketch, sketchbook, sketchpad, spatula, spray gun, study, stump, tracing, varnish, vignette
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