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  1. (often initial capital letter) any of the military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Muslims.
  2. any war carried on under papal sanction.
  3. any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea, cause, etc.: a crusade against child abuse.
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verb (used without object), cru·sad·ed, cru·sad·ing.
  1. to go on or engage in a crusade.
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Origin of crusade

1570–80; earlier crusada < Spanish cruzada; replacing croisade < Middle French. See cross, -ade1
Related formscru·sad·er, nounnon·cru·sad·ing, adjectivepost-Cru·sade, adjectivepre-Cru·sade, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for crusade

expedition, demonstration, movement, march, drive, push, evangelism, cause, jihad

Examples from the Web for crusade

Contemporary Examples of crusade

Historical Examples of crusade

British Dictionary definitions for crusade


  1. (often capital) any of the military expeditions undertaken in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries by the Christian powers of Europe to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims
  2. (formerly) any holy war undertaken on behalf of a religious cause
  3. a vigorous and dedicated action or movement in favour of a cause
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verb (intr)
  1. to campaign vigorously for something
  2. to go on a crusade
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Derived Formscrusader, noun

Word Origin for crusade

C16: from earlier croisade, from Old French crois cross, from Latin crux; influenced also by Spanish cruzada, from cruzar to take up the 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 crusade


1706, respelling of croisade (1570s), from Middle French croisade (16c.), Spanish cruzada, both from Medieval Latin cruciata, past participle of cruciare "to mark with a cross," from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross." Other Middle English forms were croiserie, creiserie. Figurative sense of "campaign against a public evil" is from 1786.

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1732, from crusade (n.). Related: Crusaded; crusading.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper