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Origin of crucible
Words nearby crucible
What does crucible mean?
A crucible is a severe test or trial or an extremely challenging experience.
This figurative sense of crucible is based on the literal meaning of the word: a heat-resistant container used to melt metals. Crucible in the literal sense is used in the context of metallurgy, the science of working with and refining metals. The word is perhaps best known from its use as the title of the 1953 play The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
Example: Their friendship was forged in the crucible of boot camp.
Where does crucible come from?
Crucible is first recorded in English in the 1400s. It comes from the Medieval Latin crucibulum, which meant “pot used for melting metals” or “night lamp,” but its ultimate origin is uncertain. The first part of the word may be based on the root cruci-, meaning “cross-shaped” (as in crucifix), but it’s not known for sure.
Crucibles have been used for at least hundreds of years. In the Middle Ages, when the practice of alchemy was turning into chemistry, early scientists used different forms of crucibles to perform experiments with metals. During the American gold rush, makeshift crucibles were used to process gold.
The figurative use of crucible is closely associated with Miller’s play, which uses the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1690s as a metaphor for the persecution of supposed Communist sympathizers in the United States (known as McCarthyism) that was happening around the time the play was written. However, crucible has been used to mean “a severe test” since the 1600s. Crucible is usually applied to a situation that tests a person’s character and perhaps changes them forever. The association of extreme heat with extremely challenging experiences can be found in many other expressions, such as trial by fire.
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How is crucible used in real life?
Crucible is most commonly used to refer to situations that represent an extreme trial for someone, especially one that tests their courage or preparedness.
Good night, future legend!
Today's struggle, tomorrow's strife-
just the beginning of your story,
the crucible from which you emerge. Go!
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 7, 2017
Any kind of encounter with adversity or limitation, at any age, can serve as the crucible for forging the attitude [of fearlessness].
— Robert Greene (@RobertGreene) March 14, 2018
Great win for the Terps. You know what I loved the most? In the crucible of the moment, it wasn't Anthony Cowan, Jr. against the world, going 1 on 9. He brought it out, the ball moved and boom-shaka-laka, Darryl Morsell with the deep 3 to complete a 17-point comeback. #Terps
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) February 27, 2020
Try using crucible!
When used in its literal sense, crucible appears in the context of what practice?
Example sentences from the Web for crucible
If the witness did in fact witness such a terrible crime, the testimony will survive in the crucible of cross-examination.
And what does it say if we look to war as a crucible for religious belief?
Born in 1961, Barack Obama is our first president since JFK whose worldview was shaped in a non-Cold War crucible.
But it is also, anachronistically, a crucible that can reveal character.'Fives and Twenty-Fives' Is Fiction Honed in a Combat Zone|Brian Castner|August 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Herzog was never just a novel; from the beginning it was a symbol, a crucible, a shibboleth.American Dreams: Saul Bellow’s Masterpiece of Lamentation|Nathaniel Rich|July 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But the crucible was no longer—as then of pity; it was the crucible of love.Mistress Wilding|Rafael Sabatini
When we want to learn something roughly about a piece of metal, we put it in a crucible in the fire.Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary|Voltaire
Harry busied himself with putting the crucible in order, and in getting the fuel.The Wonder Island Boys: Exploring the Island|Roger Thompson Finlay
The silver-lead alloy which does not melt is taken from the margin of the crucible with a hooked bar.De Re Metallica|Georgius Agricola
You are a noble woman, and Senor Stewart is a man of desert iron forged anew in the crucible of love.The Light of Western Stars|Zane Grey