An example of crucial is information that a bomb is about to go off.
- of supreme importance; decisive; critical: a crucial decision
- Med. having the form of a cross: a crucial incision
Origin of crucialFrench from Classical Latin crux, cross
- a. Extremely significant or important: “Infancy … is now understood as a crucial building block of human personality” ( Anne Roiphe )b. Vital to the resolution of a crisis or the determination of an outcome: a crucial moment in the political campaign. See Synonyms at decisive.
- Archaic Having the form of a cross; cross-shaped.
Origin of crucialFrom New Latin (īnstantia) crucis, (experīmentum) crucis crossroads (case), crossroads (experiment) from Latin crux cruc- cross Sense 2, French from Old French from Latin crux
(comparative more crucial, superlative most crucial)
- Being essential or decisive for determining the outcome or future of something; extremely important.
- The battle of Tali-Ihantala in 1944 is one of the crucial moments in the history of Finland.
- A secure supply of crude oil is crucial for any modern nation, let alone a superpower.
- (archaic) Cruciform or cruciate; cross-shaped.
- (slang, chiefly Jamaica) Term of approval, particularly when applied to reggae music.
- Delbert Wilkins is the most crucial pirate radio DJ in Brixton.
1706, from French crucial, a medical term for ligaments of the knee (which cross each other), from Latin crux, crucis (“cross”) (English crux), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)ker- (“to turn, to bend”).
The meaning “decisive, critical” is extended from a logical term, Instantias Crucis, adopted by Francis Bacon in his influential Novum Organum (1620); the notion is of cross fingerboard signposts at forking roads, thus a requirement to choose. Specific quote is:
- Inter praerogativas instantiarum, ponemus loco decimo quarto Instantias Crucis; translato vocabulo a Crucibus, quae erectae in biviis indicant et signant viarum separationes.