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.
- Essential or decisive for determining the outcome or future of something; extremely important; vital.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus: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.
- 2014 March 7, Nicole Vulser, “Perfume manufacturers must cope with the scarcity of precious supplies”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 190, number 13, page 30:
- The perfume industry is facing a major problem: maintaining constant levels of quality is crucial, but it is increasingly difficult to obtain a regular supply of all the necessary natural ingredients.
- 2018, Clarence Green; James Lambert, “Advancing disciplinary literacy through English for academic purposes: Discipline-specific wordlists, collocations and word families for eight secondary subjects”, in Journal of English for Academic Purposes, volume 35, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2018.07.004, page 106:
- Vocabulary provides a foundation from which grammar, phonology, and morphology emerge, and in a subject area it provides access to conceptual knowledge. Vocabulary selection for pedagogical purposes is therefore crucial.
- (archaic) Cruciform or cruciate; cross-shaped.
- (slang, especially Jamaican, Bermuda) Very good; excellent; particularly applied to reggae music.
- Delbert Wilkins is the most crucial pirate radio DJ in Brixton.
- “crucial” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
- Hyphenation: cru‧ci‧al
For quotations using this term, see Citations:crucial.
crucial (plural cruciales)