[ kroo-shuhl ]
/ ˈkru ʃəl /


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

Nearby words

  1. crst syndrome,
  2. crt,
  3. crtc,
  4. cru,
  5. cruces,
  6. cruciality,
  7. crucially,
  8. crucian,
  9. crucian carp,
  10. cruciate

Origin of crucial

1700–10; < Latin cruci- (stem of crux) cross + -al1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for cruciality


/ (ˈkruːʃəl) /


involving a final or supremely important decision or event; decisive; critical
informal very important
slang very good
Derived Formscrucially, adverb

Word Origin for crucial

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

Word Origin and History for cruciality



1706, "cross-shaped," from French crucial, a medical term for ligaments of the knee (which cross each other), from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross" (see cross (n.)). The meaning "decisive, critical" (1830) is extended from a logical term, Instantias Crucis, adopted by Francis Bacon (1620); the notion is of cross fingerboard signposts at forking roads, thus a requirement to choose.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper