[ kroo-shuhl ]
/ ˈkru ʃəl /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: crucial / crucially on Thesaurus.com


involving an extremely important decision or result; decisive; critical: a crucial experiment.
severe; trying.
of the form of a cross; cross-shaped.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of crucial

1700–10; <Latin cruci- (stem of crux) cross + -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does crucial mean?

Crucial means extremely important or involving an extremely important decision or course of action. Close synonyms are critical and decisive.

The word crucial is usually used to describe pivotal moments, choices, or actions that will affect everything that follows, as in We’re at a crucial point in the process—we need to make some big decisions. 

Sometimes, crucial is simply used to describe something that’s extremely important, as in Getting enough sleep is crucial for staying healthy.  

Example: I can’t express how absolutely crucial it is to surround yourself with the right friends.

Where does crucial come from?

The first records of the word crucial come from around the early 1700s. It comes from the Latin crux, which means “cross” and is also the root of the English word crux, meaning “a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point.”

Crucial decisions about crucial actions need to be made at crucial times. These crucial points in time are like a crossroads leading to very different directions or different outcomes.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of crucial?

  • crucially (adverb)
  • cruciality (noun)

What are some synonyms for crucial?

What are some words that share a root or word element with crucial


What are some words that often get used in discussing crucial?


How is crucial used in real life?

The word crucial is typically used in the discussion of pivotal moments or decisions.



Try using crucial!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of crucial?

A. optional
B. critical
C. imperitive
D. important

British Dictionary definitions for crucial

/ (ˈkruːʃəl) /


involving a final or supremely important decision or event; decisive; critical
informal very important
slang very good
crucially, adverb
C18: from French, from Latin crux cross
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
What's This Word?