Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A vessel made of a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain, used for melting and calcining materials at high temperatures.
  • noun An extremely difficult experience or situation; a severe test or trial: synonym: trial.
  • noun A place, time, or situation in which different social forces or intellectual influences come together and cause new developments.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A vessel or melting-pot for chemical purposes, made of pure clay or other material, as black-lead, porcelain, platinum, silver, or iron, and so baked or tempered as to endure extreme heat without fusing.
  • noun A hollow place at the bottom of a chemical furnace, for collecting the molten metal.
  • noun Figuratively, a severe or searching test: as, his probity was tried in the crucible of temptation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A vessel or melting pot, composed of some very refractory substance, as clay, graphite, platinum, and used for melting and calcining substances which require a strong degree of heat, as metals, ores, etc.
  • noun A hollow place at the bottom of a furnace, to receive the melted metal.
  • noun A test of the most decisive kind; a severe trial.
  • noun (Chem.) a cheap, brittle, and fragile, but very refractory crucible, composed of the finest fire clay and sand, and commonly used for a single heating; -- named from the place of manufacture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun chemistry A cup-shaped piece of laboratory equipment used to contain chemical compounds when heating them to very high temperatures.
  • noun A heat-resistant container in which metals are melted, usually at temperatures above 500°C, commonly made of graphite with clay as a binder.
  • noun The bottom and hottest part of a blast furnace; the hearth.
  • noun A very difficult and trying experience, that acts as a refining or hardening process.

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

  • noun a vessel made of material that does not melt easily; used for high temperature chemical reactions

Etymologies

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

[Middle English crusible, from Medieval Latin crūcibulum, night-light, crucible, possibly from Old French croisuel, cresset; see cresset.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin crucibulum ("night-lamp, metallurgic melting-pot"), apparently a derivative of crux ("cross").

Examples

  • The scope of the crucible is always brought home to me by one single moment: The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff on January 30, 1945.

    A conversation with bestselling author Chris Bohjalian about his novel, Skeletons at the Feast

  • In this crucible is formed the young Naipaul, who writes home from Oxford to Seepersad Naipaul, his beloved and writerly father and mentor, to say: I want to come top of my group.

    Cruel and Unusual

  • Bollingen, which Jung considered his alchemical crucible, is dismissed by Giegerich as

    Romanticism, Alchemy, and Psychology

  • In this crucible is formed the young Naipaul, who writes home from Oxford to Seepersad Naipaul, his beloved and writerly father and mentor, to say: I want to come top of my group.

    Cruel and Unusual

  • In this crucible is formed the young Naipaul, who writes home from Oxford to Seepersad Naipaul, his beloved and writerly father and mentor, to say: I want to come top of my group.

    Cruel and Unusual

  • Indeed, cross-examination is often referred to as the crucible of the truth: Combine a defense attorney's direct examination with a forceful cross-examination, and therein a juror discovers the truth.

    Is Skilling Hurting His Own Defense? Jeffrey Skilling's 'Big Enchilada'

  • And someone else's knowledge, I found, was never my own, for the crucible is the experience.

    Nancy Chuda: To Invent Fire

  • And someone else's knowledge, I found, was never my own, for the crucible is the experience.

    Nancy Chuda: To Invent Fire

  • There was the withdrawal of a tiny crucible from the white heat of the furnace, and the sliding back of the door, and then the crucible was a dazzling light fleck that danced through the blackness toward one of the workbenches.

    "Power" by Harl Vincent, part 1

  • The town of Asuka, often described as the crucible of Japanese civilization, was a cosmopolitan melting pot in the seventh century.

    The Ties That Bind

Comments

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  • Whenever my chemistry teacher would use a crucible for heating things, he'd quip that it was invented by Arthur Miller.

    That man is a genius!

    June 29, 2008