I think both words mean a sort of crevice or corner. Presumably there must be some significant difference.

The words are almost always used together:


She searched in every nook and cranny

Presumably they can be used separately. I think I may have heard "nook" on its own, but never "cranny".

Interestingly the N-gram seems to suggest "nook" is more commonly used than "cranny".

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  • Many U.S. readers over 40, upon hearing the term "nooks & crannies," will immediately be reminded of an old tagline for Thomas' English muffins: with lots of nooks and crannies to hold the melted butter. Until today, I thought that phrase was mere adspeak; I didn't realize it was a closely guarded trade secret.
    – J.R.
    Jun 18, 2012 at 14:50
  • It reminds me of the line: "Oh, I love every part of you, every nook and cranny. Oh, especially your cranny". I believe it's from "third rock from the sun".
    – Urbycoz
    Jun 19, 2012 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


In the OED’s definitions, nook seems to have the meaning of some kind of corner, whereas a cranny is some kind of opening or crack. Together they cover a range of possible places in which a thorough search might be conducted. I think either on its own would be rare in current English.

  • 7
    "Nook" survives by itself in phrases like "breakfast nook". I wouldn't have breakfast in a cranny. Jun 18, 2012 at 11:10
  • 3
    From which we get the spoonerism, “crooks and nannies”.
    – tchrist
    Jun 18, 2012 at 11:51
  • 1
    “Nook” survives also as the market name for an ebook device. Can it be said that this meaning is being used?
    – Agos
    Jun 18, 2012 at 13:39
  • I guess a "breakfast cranny" is like a "breakfast nook" only much smaller...
    – GEdgar
    Jun 18, 2012 at 14:01
  • You get nooks in gardens, too. I can't think of a use for cranny without nook though.
    – Rupe
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:26

1)A "nook" is a corner or a small, partially enclosed area of a larger room. A "cranny" is a crack or a crevice.

2)A nook is a sheltered and secluded place.

3)A nook is a recess esp. one offering seclusion or security. A cranny is a small narrow space or opening.

4)A nook is a small corner of a house, or a secluded spot. A cranny is a crack or hole in something

5)A nooks are high, crannys are low. A cranny is a a long narrow depression in a surface.

6)A nook is in. A cranny is out.

The phrase 'every little nook and cranny' means every part or aspect of something.

  • 1
    Now that I've read #6, I might try using this terminology when discussing bellybuttons, as in: "What about your navel? Do you have a nook or a cranny?"
    – J.R.
    Jun 19, 2012 at 0:49
  • That's not quite what "every little nook and cranny" means. It's referring to spaces (along the same lines as your 1-6).
    – Rupe
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:25

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