Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Extremely significant or important: a crucial problem.
  • adj. Vital to the resolution of a crisis; decisive: a crucial election. See Synonyms at decisive.
  • adj. Archaic Having the form of a cross; cross-shaped.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Being essential or decisive for determining the outcome or future of something; extremely important.
  • adj. Cruciform or cruciate; cross-shaped.
  • adj. Term of approval, particularly when applied to reggae music.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the form of a cross; appertaining to a cross; cruciform; intersecting.
  • adj. Severe; trying or searching, as if bringing to the cross; decisive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having the form of a cross; transverse; intersecting; decussating: as, a crucial incision.
  • In anatomy, specifically applied to two stout decussating ligaments in the interior of the knee-joint, connecting the spine of the tibia with the intercondyloid fossa of the femur.
  • Decisive, as between two hypotheses; finally disproving one of two alternative suppositions.
  • Of or pertaining to a crucible; like a heated crucible as a utensil of chemical analysis.
  • Pertaining to or like a cross as an instrument of torture for eliciting the truth; excessively strict and severe: said of a proceeding of inquiry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of the greatest importance
  • adj. of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
  • adj. having crucial relevance

Etymologies

From New Latin (īnstantia) crucis, (experīmentum) crucis, crossroads (case), crossroads (experiment), from Latin crux, cruc-, cross. Sense 2, French, from Old French, from Latin crux.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1706, from French crucial, a medical term for ligaments of the knee (which cross each other), from Latin crux, crucis ("cross") (English crux), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (“to turn, to bend”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Averroes has, unlike Avicenna, made the way something is picked out by the term crucial in determining what kind of modal proposition is produced.

    Arabic and Islamic Philosophy of Language and Logic

  • Graham fears deep newsroom cuts would eviscerate local reporting, which he called crucial to "the health of the city."

    Ron Perelman Bidding For Philadelphia Newspapers

  • Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign-policy representative, welcomed Tuesday what he described as a crucial step in a "historic process" to bring stability to the troubled Caucasus region.

    Responses to Turkey-Armenia Pact Point to Hurdles Ahead

  • BASH: McCain says he's going to Colombia to spotlight his support for free trade, which he calls crucial to jump-starting the U.S. economy -- a sharp difference with Barack Obama.

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2008

  • BASH: McCain says he's going to Colombia to spotlight his support for free trade which he calls crucial to jump-starting the U.S. economy.

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2008

  • BASH: McCain says he's going Colombia to spotlight his support for free trade, which he calls crucial to jump starting the U.S. economy, a sharp difference with Barack Obama.

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2008

  • BASH: McCain says he's going to Colombia to spotlight his support for free trade, which he calls crucial to jump starting the U.S. economy.

    CNN Transcript Jul 2, 2008

  • France in a bid to drum up support for the plan, which he called a crucial part of efforts to lead the world's poorest continent down the path to economic prosperity.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Mark D. Wallace, president of United Against Nuclear Iran, said in a telephone interview that the group might seek Congressional hearings on Iran's Swift membership, which he described as crucial to the country's economic survival.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The North Saturday threatened to shell the speakers and said it could turn Seoul "into a sea of flame", in what it called a crucial declaration repeated on Pyongyang's official news agency Monday.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

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