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See more synonyms for pivotal on Thesaurus.com
  1. of, relating to, or serving as a pivot.
  2. of vital or critical importance: a pivotal event.
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Origin of pivotal

First recorded in 1835–45; pivot + -al1
Related formspiv·ot·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pivotal

climactic, crucial, vital, critical, central, decisive, essential, momentous, cardinal, determining, focal, middle, overriding, principal, ruling

Examples from the Web for pivotal

Contemporary Examples of pivotal

Historical Examples of pivotal

British Dictionary definitions for pivotal


  1. of, involving, or acting as a pivot
  2. of crucial importance
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Derived Formspivotally, adverb
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 pivotal


1844, in figurative sense, from pivot (n.) + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper