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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or serving as a pivot.
  • adj. Being of vital or central importance; crucial: "Its pivotal location has also exposed it to periodic invasions” ( Henry A. Kissinger).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. of, relating to, or being a pivot
  • adj. being of crucial importance; central, key

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a pivot or turning point; belonging to, or constituting, a pivot; of the nature of a pivot

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of the nature of or forming a pivot; belonging to or constituting a pivot, or that upon which something turns or depends: as, a pivotal question; a pivotal State in an election.

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

  • adj. being of crucial importance


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • SNOW (voice-over): Senator Joseph Lieberman thanked Hispanic clergymen for endorsing him in what he called a pivotal moment of his difficult campaign.

    CNN Transcript Nov 3, 2006

  • MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Joseph Lieberman thanked Hispanic clergymen for endorsing him in what he called a pivotal moment in his difficult campaign.

    CNN Transcript Nov 3, 2006

  • Bob Sloan, a hedge fund risk management adviser at S3 Partners, said he was riveted by the television all day to watch what he described as a pivotal point for Wall Street.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Yet Professor Ali Mazrui's argument that if Africa is to jumpstart its pan African integration then some countries which he calls pivotal or development states should serve as a magnet for their neighbours is still relevant.

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  • By building strong statewide organizations, and by enacting popular policies that boost their party's image, governors can help their party's presidential candidate immeasurably, especially in pivotal swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida.

    Ohio, Other States Flip to GOP Governors

  • Democrats risk losing a dozen governors 'chairs they now hold, including those in pivotal presidential states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine and New Mexico.

    As Democrats' Message Lags, GOP Awaits Huge Wins

  • The director emphasizes, We want the audience to experience certain pivotal moments through the eyes of the characters.

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  • At certain pivotal points during the book, Lussier uses a method of relaying the historical knowledge of a specific event, and then revealing the actual circumstances that took place.

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  • The characters certainly are not charming nor are they in pivotal roles and some are exceedingly odd (e.g. Dave #8) but at least they are characters and not the cardboard, good/bad stereotypes that weigh down a lot of SF.

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  • Although it hardly made up for two crucial bad calls in pivotal games of this and another playoff series, tonight's officiating crew actually did an excellent job.

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