Cruet bottle, 1780–1800 V&A Museum no. 118-1907

A cruet (play /ˈkr.ɨt/), also called a caster,[1] is a small flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck. Cruets often have an integral lip or spout, and may also have a handle. Unlike a small carafe, a cruet has a stopper, lid, or phoedelia. Cruets are normally made from glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.



A cruet designed to serve vinegar at the table.

Cruets today typically serve a culinary function, holding liquid condiments such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They often have a filter built into them to act as a strainer, so that vinegar containing herbs and other solid ingredients will pour clear. Cruets also serve as decanters for lemon juice, garlic juice, and other fine gourmet oils. They are also used for the serving of the wine and water in a Catholic setting.


The English word cruet originates with the Old French crue, "earthen pot"[2] Some speculate that the early use of cruets was ecclesiastical[citation needed] — there is for example Biblical use of a "cruse of oil," a jug or jar to hold liquid (I Kings 17:16). A few cruets dating from the Medieval ages still exist today. Its culinary use however was first introduced in the late 17th century. Cardinal Mazarin had a pair of salad cruets on his dining table at his home in France[citation needed], one for olive oil and the other for vinegar. The use of oil and vinegar cruets rapidly spread throughout Italy, where oil and vinegar were already in frequent use. Oil and vinegar cruets are common on Italian tables to this day.[citation needed]


Victorian cruet set on a cruet stand.

Cruets range from nominal decanters to the highly decorative cut crystal. Some cruets are unusual, and can either be intended to be ornamental or functional.

During some Christian religious ceremonies, cruets are used to keep wine and water for Eucharist. These cruets are usually made of glass, though sometimes they are made of precious metals such as gold or silver. Typically each cruet will also be paired with a phoedelia (commonly referred to as a 'stopper'), often shaped as a cross, which protects the contents. Cruets specifically intended for religious ceremonies come in pairs: one to contain water, often marked A for Aqua, and one to contain wine , V for Vinum. (These two liquids are mixed during the ceremony.)


  1. ^ "caster", The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition. Houghton Mifflin. 1982.
  2. ^ "Cruet". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-01.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cruet — • A small vessel used for containing the wine and water required for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Cruet     Cruet      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Cruet — Cru et (kr[udd] [e^]t), n. [Anglo French cruet, a dim. from OF. crue, cruie; of German or Celtic origin, and akin to E. crock an earthen vessel.] 1. A bottle or vessel; esp., a vial or small glass bottle for holding vinegar, oil, pepper, or the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cruet — small glass bottle for vinegar, oil, etc., c.1300, Anglo Fr. dim. of O.Fr. crue an earthen pot, from Frank. *kruka (Cf. O.H.G. kruog), related to CROCK (Cf. crock) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cruet — ► NOUN 1) a small container for salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar for use at a dining table. 2) Brit. a stand holding such containers. 3) a small container for the wine or water to be used in the celebration of the Eucharist. ORIGIN Old French, small …   English terms dictionary

  • cruet — [kro͞o′it] n. [ME < Anglo Fr, dim. of OFr crue, earthen pot < Gmc * kruka (Ger krug): see CROCK1] a small glass bottle, as for holding vinegar or oil for the table …   English World dictionary

  • Cruet — 45° 31′ 44″ N 6° 05′ 32″ E / 45.5288888889, 6.09222222222 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • cruet — [[t]kru͟ːɪt[/t]] cruets 1) N COUNT A cruet is a small container, or set of containers, for salt, pepper, or mustard which is used at meals. [BRIT] ...a cruet set. 2) N COUNT A cruet is a small glass bottle that contains oil or vinegar and is used …   English dictionary

  • Cruet — Original name in latin Cruet Name in other language Cruet State code FR Continent/City Europe/Paris longitude 45.5289 latitude 6.0922 altitude 358 Population 1057 Date 2010 12 13 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • cruet — UK [ˈkruːɪt] / US [ˈkruɪt] noun [countable] Word forms cruet : singular cruet plural cruets 1) a small container for salt, pepper, or other condiments, or an object that holds a set of these containers, used during a meal 2) American a small… …   English dictionary

  • cruet — /ˈkruət / (say kroohuht) noun 1. a set, on a stand, of containers for salt, pepper, and mustard or for vinegar and oil. 2. an individual container. 3. any of the contents. 4. Ecclesiastical one of the vessels used in the celebration of the mass… …   Australian English dictionary

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