Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: cri¦sis
Pronunciation: /ˈkrʌɪsɪs

Definition of crisis in English:

noun (plural crises /-siːz/)

1A time of intense difficulty or danger: the current economic crisis [mass noun]: the monarchy was in crisis
More example sentences
  • I also have a good job and salary, which is enough to feed an entire family during the economic crisis.
  • But there is a very realistic danger that a cash crisis could trip them up on the way to the altar.
  • Generally the more extreme the economic crisis, the larger the war tends to be.
catastrophe, calamity, cataclysm, emergency, disaster;
predicament, plight, mess, dilemma, quandary, setback, reverse, reversal, upheaval, drama;
trouble, dire straits, hard times, hardship, adversity, extremity, distress, difficulty
informal fix, pickle, jam, stew, scrape, bind, hole, sticky situation, hot water, hell, hell on earth, hassle, stress
British informal spot of bother
1.1A time when a difficult or important decision must be made: [as modifier]: the situation has reached crisis point
More example sentences
  • The decision expresses differences and conflicts that have reached a crisis point.
  • Dr Williams' decision to call the crisis meeting places his authority on the line as never before.
  • By 1595, a crisis point had been reached and the so-called Nine Years War was under way.
critical point, decisive point, turning point, crossroads, critical period, crux, climax, climacteric, culmination, height, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, Rubicon
informal crunch
1.2The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
Example sentences
  • Another challenge is dealing with exacerbation or crises in the disease when the antibody titer reaches very high levels.
  • Dr. Tilden said that diseases were crises of toxemia.
  • The literature indicates that hypertensive and hyperthermic crises may occur when high doses are given.


late Middle English (denoting the turning point of a disease): medical Latin, from Greek krisis 'decision', from krinein 'decide'. The general sense 'decisive point' dates from the early 17th century.

Definition of crisis in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day peart
Pronunciation: pɪət
lively; cheerful