Definition of cream in English:

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Pronunciation: /kriːm/


[mass noun]
1The thick white or pale yellow fatty liquid which rises to the top when milk is left to stand and which can be eaten as an accompaniment to desserts or used as a cooking ingredient: strawberries and cream [as modifier]: a cream cake
More example sentences
  • Put the chocolate into a blender and pour on the hot milk and cream and leave to stand for one minute.
  • The condensed skim milk and cream are combined to create cheddar cheese.
  • The terrine batter itself is made of eggs, flour, milk, cream and/or butter.
1.1The part of a liquid that gathers at the top: the tank contains 24,000 gallons of cream and 12,000 gallons of serum
More example sentences
  • By the time I reached her home the cream was clearing the jar in lumps.
  • After about ten hours the cream would rise to the top of the milk pans.
  • We're starting to see the cream rising to the top.
1.2A sauce, soup, dessert, or other dish containing cream or having a creamy consistency: a tin of cream of mushroom soup
More example sentences
  • The teahouse also offers light meals such as sausage rice with cream sauce and curry beef rice.
  • Inside a long, high room, on mustard and black linens, sits a bowl of gently curried cream of carrot soup.
  • It is the perfect raw material for that gourmet's dish, cream of parsley soup.
1.3 [count noun] A sweet of a specified flavour which is creamy in texture: a peppermint cream
More example sentences
  • In most countries, including the rest of the English-speaking world, similar confections are referred to simply as coconut candies or coconut creams.
  • So I graduated to chocolate-dipped peppermint creams - so elegant that Mum would serve them with pride (mine and hers) with the coffee at the end of her dinner parties.
  • He informs Raina that only young, inexperienced soldiers carry cartridges into combat; older and savvier ones stock up on chocolate creams.
1.4 [count noun] A biscuit with a creamy filling: a custard cream
More example sentences
  • I have no idea why I was suddenly badgered by the smell of those biscuits in particular, rather than, say, Garibaldi (squashed-fly biscuits) or custard creams.
  • It became an alternative to rosewater, particularly in rich seed cakes, almond cakes and biscuits, and dessert creams.
  • As well as a plentiful supply of bourbons and custard creams, one of the first things the nurse will do is check the level of iron in your blood beforehand to ensure you won't feel faint afterwards.
2A thick liquid or semi-solid cosmetic or medical preparation applied to the skin: shaving cream [count noun]: moisturizing creams
More example sentences
  • Dry skin lotions, creams, or thicker preparations may be used to lubricate the skin, prevent fissures, and keep the skin pliable.
  • He pulled out his razor and coated his face with shaving cream, preparing to shave, which he really needed to do.
  • The medicated cream could make the skin dry and cause itching.
archaic unction
3The very best of a group of people or things: the paper’s readership is the cream of American society
More example sentences
  • The cream of Britain's funniest writers came out in force for the presentation of the first Saga Award for Wit at this year's Folkestone Literary Festival.
  • The cream of Europe's railway operators are being encouraged to make bold bids to put Scotland's network on the right track for the 21st century.
  • The cream of the local players were joined by bassist George Mitchell and reedman Donny McCaslin, who trekked in from New York.
best, finest, first class, top, choice, choicest, flower, prize, treasure, pearl, gem, jewel, the jewel in the crown, the crème de la crème, A-list;
informal tops, pick of the bunch
4A very pale yellow or off-white colour: the dress is available in white or cream [as modifier]: a cream linen jacket
More example sentences
  • In the first robbery he dressed in a three quarter length, cream coloured jacket with fur around the edges.
  • He was clean shaven, tanned and wore cream coloured jeans, a white t-shirt and beige training shoes.
  • Inside, the walls were all plastered and painted pale colours with cream carpets - very novel for the early 1970s in Ireland.


[with object]
1Work (butter, typically with sugar) to form a smooth paste: you cream the butter first and then add the egg yolks
More example sentences
  • In another bowl she creamed the butter and sugar using the electric whisk Jack gave her, then added the eggs.
  • You need to have an electric mixer to use the method described, although it is also successful using the traditional method that begins with creaming the butter and sugar.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
1.1 (usually as adjective creamed) Mash (a cooked vegetable) with milk or cream: creamed turnips
More example sentences
  • The vegetables include creamed cauliflower, mashed potato, roast potato, carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
  • Were they cooked, creamed, fried, pickled, or raw?
  • I had plans to make a green bean dish, creamed onions, and a salad later, while the turkey was in the oven.
1.2Add cream to (coffee): she poured Jack a coffee and creamed and sugared it
More example sentences
  • Sara moved her focus to the caramel of the creamed and honeyed coffee.
2Rub a cosmetic cream into (the skin): Madge was creaming her face in front of the mirror
More example sentences
  • Even French women of modest means are much more likely than American women to get treatments in spas or clinics that scrub, polish, buff, massage and cream their skins.
  • Because you are wearing sandals you attend to your feet - slough the dead skin off, cream them, paint their toenails - they therefore look great.
3 informal, chiefly North American Defeat (someone) heavily in a sporting contest: on paper, England should have creamed Scotland
More example sentences
  • He wasn't about to let Saki humiliate him by first ruining his computer and then creaming him.
  • How can he cream him when he drops out of the race?
  • Kim and I were creaming him on the fact that Indian girls have better clothes than the guys, hands down, when his dad suddenly sprung the infamous line.
3.1Collide heavily with (someone), especially in a car: she got creamed by a speeding car
More example sentences
  • Paul opens his mouth like he's going to say something, and I cream him with a pillow first.
  • The big lefty slugger creamed a low-and-away fastball into the rightfield upper deck for a two-run homer.
4 [no object] vulgar slang (Of a person) be sexually aroused to the point of producing sexual secretions.
4.1 [with object] Moisten (one’s underpants) due to sexual arousal.


the cream of the crop

The very best of a particular group of people or things: the researchers and institutions in this network are the cream of the crop
More example sentences
  • Inbound tourist operators are the first to admit their jobs are the cream of the crop.
  • We've sifted through the newest influx of items to find the cream of the crop.
  • We're going to be looking at the top banana, the big kahuna, the cream of the crop.

Phrasal verbs

cream something off

Take the best of (a group of people or things), especially in a way that is considered unfair: the schools cream off some of the more able pupils
More example sentences
  • Lucky or prescient players would win fabulous prizes, and pure, unbiased, aggregate intelligence could be creamed off the top because markets always get it right in the end.
  • Now admittedly, this is largely because of the fees being creamed off by the investment managers.
  • The specialized schools will continue to cream off the very best of our students, while the marginal and challenged are left behind in the general high school population.
1.1Make (an excessive profit) on a transaction: they have been accused of creaming off fat profits in house insurance commission
More example sentences
  • I take the risk, the government creams off some of my profit.
  • Both firms contend that they have not been creaming off massive profits from the deal, but have been covering only their costs over the enormous work involved.
  • In theory they can offer cheap loans because they are run by volunteers and there are no shareholders creaming off the profits.


Middle English: from Old French cresme, from a blend of late Latin cramum (probably of Gaulish origin) and ecclesiastical Latin chrisma (see chrism).

Words that rhyme with cream

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, dream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seam, seem, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cream

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