[ kroo-suh-fik-shuhn ]
See synonyms for crucifixion on
  1. the act of crucifying.

  2. the state of being crucified.

  1. (initial capital letter) the death of Jesus upon the Cross.

  2. a picture or other representation of this.

  3. severe and unjust punishment or suffering; persecution.

Origin of crucifixion

1375–1425; late Middle English <Late Latin crucifīxiōn- (stem of crucīfixiō). See crucifix, -ion

Words Nearby crucifixion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use crucifixion in a sentence

  • Stephen began with them, but he came right down to the recent crucifixion, and stirred them up.

  • The last eight years of my life have been continual mental starvation and moral crucifixion.

    The Long Dim Trail | Forrestine C. Hooker
  • The central lancet was an extraordinary crucifixion, somewhat like that at Poitiers.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals | Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • She could not see that if he spoke roughly it was only an expression of the smothered pain of his mental crucifixion.

    The Pagan Madonna | Harold MacGrath

British Dictionary definitions for crucifixion (1 of 2)


/ (ˌkruːsɪˈfɪkʃən) /

  1. a method of putting to death by nailing or binding to a cross, normally by the hands and feet, which was widespread in the ancient world

British Dictionary definitions for Crucifixion (2 of 2)


/ (ˌkruːsɪˈfɪkʃən) /

  1. the Crucifixion the crucifying of Christ at Calvary, regarded by Christians as the culminating redemptive act of his ministry

  2. a picture or representation of this

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

Cultural definitions for Crucifixion


The death of Jesus on the cross. After he had been betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested, Jesus was condemned by his fellow Jews (see also Jews) as a false Messiah and turned over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to be crucified. Pilate found no reason to condemn Jesus; he tried to convince the people that it was absurd to regard Jesus as “King of the Jews” and offered to release him. But when the people insisted that Jesus be put to death, Pilate washed his hands to indicate that Jesus' fate was no longer his responsibility and turned Jesus over to be crucified. Roman soldiers then placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” He was made to carry a wooden cross up the hill of Calvary near Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem), where he was nailed to the cross and was placed between two thieves, who were also crucified. Shortly before his death, he said, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” After his death, the followers of Jesus placed his body in a tomb.

Notes for Crucifixion

Jesus had told his disciples that he would sacrifice his life so that believers' sins might be forgiven. Christians (see also Christian) believe that his death on the cross and his Resurrection three days later make salvation (see also salvation) possible.

Notes for Crucifixion

Having a “cross to bear” means any painful responsibility that is forced upon one.

Notes for Crucifixion

To “wash one's hands of it” means to refuse to take responsibility for an action or event.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.