Definition of crusade in English:

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Pronunciation: /kro͞oˈsād/


(often Crusade)
1A medieval military expedition, one of a series made by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.
Example sentences
  • Medieval England was to gain a great deal from the Crusades.
  • Saladin and Richard the Lionheart are two names that tend to dominate the Crusades.
  • The first Crusade took three years to reach the Holy Land.
1.1A war instigated by the Church for alleged religious ends.
Example sentences
  • Our holy wars, crusades, and pogroms have decimated people in the millions in the name of our religion.
  • However, there has been little to compare to the crusades and religious wars in medieval and early-modern Europe.
  • Therefore, the Civil War must be a religious crusade to regain the Almighty's favour.
1.2An organized campaign concerning a political, social, or religious issue, typically motivated by a fervent desire for change: a crusade against crime
More example sentences
  • A civil servant has vowed to carry on her crusade against crime despite becoming the victim of a hate campaign.
  • While urging the authorities to find more resources to fix up our schools, our political representatives ought to be leading the crusade against vandalism.
  • The crusade against child obesity is likely to produce, not healthy outcomes, but miserable children and anxious parents and epidemics of dieting and eating disorders.
campaign, drive, push, movement, effort, struggle;
battle, war, offensive


[no object]
Lead or take part in an energetic and organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue: he crusaded against gambling in the 1950s
More example sentences
  • She said that, as somebody who has been crusading to get insurance premiums down for drivers under 25, she was appalled at such comments.
  • He was a pioneer conservationist, crusading to save Georgian London from the developers and responsible for saving Carlton House Terrace.
  • You're crusading against a lot of the violence that some of the other hip-hop artists celebrate.
campaign, fight, do battle, battle, take up arms, work, strive, struggle, agitate, lobby, champion, promote


Late 16th century (originally as croisade): from French croisade, an alteration (influenced by Spanish cruzado) of earlier croisée, literally 'the state of being marked with the cross', based on Latin crux, cruc- 'cross'; in the 17th century the form crusado, from Spanish cruzado, was introduced; the blending of these two forms led to the current spelling, first recorded in the early 18th century.

  • cross from Old English:

    The word cross was initially used in English to refer to a monument in the form of a cross. The source is Old Norse kross, which in turn goes back to crux, a Latin word that gave us crucial, crucible (Late Middle English) originally a night light or the sort that might be hung in front of a crucifix (Middle English), and excruciating.

    People cross their fingers to ward off bad luck. What they are doing is making a miniature ‘sign of the cross’, whether they know it or not. To cross someone's palm with silver is to pay them for a favour or service. It probably comes from the idea of tracing the shape of a cross on a fortune-teller's palm with a silver coin before you are told what the future has in store.

    In 49 bc Julius Caesar, having defeated the Gauls, brought his army south to fight a civil war against Pompey and the Roman Senate. When he crossed the Rubicon, a small river marking the boundary between Italy and the Roman province of Gaul, he was committed to war, having broken the law forbidding him to take his troops out of his province. Cross meaning ‘annoyed’ dates back to the 17th century. It derives from the nautical idea of a wind blowing across the bow of your ship rather than from behind, which produced the senses ‘contrary, opposing’, and ‘adverse, opposed’, and then ‘annoyed, bad-tempered’. Crosspatch (early 18th century) is based on the obsolete word patch meaning ‘fool, clown’, perhaps from Italian pazzo ‘madman’.

Words that rhyme with crusade

abrade, afraid, aid, aide, ambuscade, arcade, balustrade, barricade, Belgrade, blade, blockade, braid, brigade, brocade, cannonade, carronade, cascade, cavalcade, cockade, colonnade, dissuade, downgrade, enfilade, esplanade, evade, fade, fusillade, glade, grade, grenade, grillade, handmade, harlequinade, homemade, invade, jade, lade, laid, lemonade, limeade, made, maid, man-made, marinade, masquerade, newlaid, orangeade, paid, palisade, parade, pasquinade, persuade, pervade, raid, serenade, shade, Sinéad, staid, stockade, stock-in-trade, suede, tailor-made, they'd, tirade, trade, Ubaid, underpaid, undismayed, unplayed, unsprayed, unswayed, upbraid, upgrade, wade

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cru·sade

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