Definitions

Crichton

Crichton

[krahyt-n]
Crichton, James, 1560?-1583?, Scottish adventurer and scholar, called the Admirable Crichton. A graduate of the Univ. of St. Andrews, he spent some time in France, possibly in military service. By 1579 he was in Italy, where he attracted attention by his scholarly accomplishments and personal charm. Reputedly he spoke 12 languages and displayed amazing erudition and powers of memory in public disputations. He entered the service of a Mantuan nobleman as tutor to his son and was slain by his charge in a street brawl. His fame is due to the extravagant praise given him by Aldus Manutius (grandson of the famous printer of the same name) and by his 17th-century biographer, Sir Thomas Urquhart.
Crichton, Michael, 1942-2008, American novelist, screenwriter, and director, b. Chicago, grad. Harvard Medical School (1969). He wrote several thrillers under a pseudonym while a student and left medicine soon after his first bestseller, the medical thriller The Andromeda Strain (1969, film 1971). Scientific and technological subjects—epidemiology, chaos theory, genetic engineering, medical and computer technology—became essential elements in his suspenseful page-turners, many of which becames movies (some with his own screenplays). Among his other novels are The Terminal Man (1972, film 1972), Congo (1980, film 1995), the blockbuster Jurassic Park (1990, film 1994) and its sequel The Lost World (1995, film 1997), Rising Sun (1992, film 1993), Prey (2002), State of Fear (2004), and Next (2006). He also wrote original screenplays and directed several films, e.g., Westworld (1973) and Coma (1978), and created the television series E.R. His nonfiction includes a biography of artist Jasper Johns (1977, rev. ed. 1994) and the autobiographical Travels (1988).

See biography by N. Aaseng (2002); E. A. Trembley, Michael Crichton: A Critical Companion (1996).

(born August 1560, Eliock House, Dumfries, Scot.—died July 1582, Mantua, Mantua) Scottish scholar and adventurer. After graduating from the University of St. Andrews, he publicly distinguished himself in Europe in learned activities. He entered the service of the duke of Mantua but was slain in a street fight at age 21. Reputedly a fine orator, linguist, debater, and man of letters, he was considered the model of the cultured gentleman, though admirers probably exaggerated his accomplishments. Years later he became known as “the Admirable Crichton.”

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(born August 1560, Eliock House, Dumfries, Scot.—died July 1582, Mantua, Mantua) Scottish scholar and adventurer. After graduating from the University of St. Andrews, he publicly distinguished himself in Europe in learned activities. He entered the service of the duke of Mantua but was slain in a street fight at age 21. Reputedly a fine orator, linguist, debater, and man of letters, he was considered the model of the cultured gentleman, though admirers probably exaggerated his accomplishments. Years later he became known as “the Admirable Crichton.”

Learn more about Crichton, James with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The surname Crichton is a Scottish surname derived from the Gaelic word crioch, which means border, and the Old English word tune which means farm or settlement. It is thus to be assumed that the first bearer of this surname lived on a border. It can also be used to refer to the following people and places:

People

Crichton as part of a compound surname

Places

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