Definition of crucial in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkruːʃ(ə)l/


1Decisive or critical, especially in the success or failure of something: negotiations were at a crucial stage
More example sentences
  • Bad management and bad cost control will be crucial in deciding success or failure.
  • We have reached a crucial stage and now tenants and residents will begin to see real improvements on their estate.
  • His appointment comes at a crucial stage in this long-running drugs war.
pivotal, critical, key, climacteric, decisive, deciding, determining, settling, testing, trying, searching;
major, significant, influential, momentous, consequential, weighty, big, important, historic, epoch-making, far-reaching, life-and-death
1.1Of great importance: this game is crucial to our survival
More example sentences
  • If you want to lose weight, it is crucial to maintain low insulin levels.
  • It is crucial to keep your head covered when running outside in winter.
  • Only 15 percent mentioned domestic policies as being most crucial to them.
very important, of the utmost importance, of great consequence, of the essence, critical, high-priority, pre-eminent, paramount, all-important, essential, vital, vitally important, indispensable, mandatory, urgent, pressing, compelling, necessary, needed, required, requisite
1.2 informal Excellent.
Example sentences
  • That's crucial man, so please keep doing your thing!
  • In fact, it's so totally crucial I wanna hear more.



Pronunciation: /kruːʃɪˈalɪti/
Example sentences
  • But beyond that, surely, the narrative wants to attest to the irresistible cruciality of the Israelite prophet and the God of the Israelite prophet who is the healer of the nations.
  • This is the first chapter of the long account of life in the land and voices a primal thesis concerning the cruciality of the Torah that is to dominate the entire account to follow.
  • In his mind, he could still see his father's gleaming eyes when he reminded Michael again, a few hours ago, about the cruciality of the dinner.


Early 18th century (in the sense 'cross-shaped'): from French, from Latin crux, cruc- 'cross'. The sense 'decisive' is from Francis Bacon's Latin phrase instantia crucis 'crucial instance', which he explained as a metaphor from a crux or fingerpost marking a fork at a crossroad; Newton and Boyle took up the metaphor in experimentum crucis 'crucial experiment'.

  • The Latin word crux, ‘a cross’, is the source for crucial. It was originally a technical term, especially in anatomy, meaning ‘cross-shaped’, and a close relative appears in the name of the knee's cruciate ligament (late 19th century). The meaning ‘decisive’ or ‘very important’, as in ‘at a crucial stage’, can be traced back to the Latin phrase instantia crucis ‘crucial instance’, coined in the early 17th century by the English statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561–1626). His metaphor was based on the idea of a signpost at a crossroad—a place where you have to choose which way to go next. See also cross, excruciating

Words that rhyme with crucial


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cru|cial

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Related Words