Definition of crisis
1a : the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or feverb : a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered functionc : an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life a midlife crisis
2 : the decisive moment (as in a literary plot) The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.
3a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome a financial crisis the nation's energy crisisb : a situation that has reached a critical phase the environmental crisis the unemployment crisis
Examples of crisis in a Sentence
She was dealing with a family crisis at the time.
Most people blame the government for the country's worsening economic crisis.
last year's state budget crisis
In times of national crisis, we need strong leaders we can trust.
A year ago, both companies were in crisis.
Recent Examples of crisis from the Web
And this populism has compounded the Venezuelan crisis in subtle ways that illustrate the downsides of one of the most potent political forces in the world today.
Gabon’s main opposition leader, who rejected his defeat in last year’s elections, called for the international community to mediate and help end the Central African nation’s political crisis.
Since April, Gaza’s power crisis worsened, in part because of Abbas’ new strategy.
That contrasted sharply with his rivals, including far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and conservative Francois Fillon, who both backed ending Western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis.
But why, oh why, hasn’t anyone challenged graduates to figure out a way to tackle the student-loan crisis?
The visit puts a focus on the plight of workers whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis, including in Italy where a high jobless rate, especially among young adults, drives many to leave the country.
But the Carter years were also defined by the Iranian hostage crisis, which came to symbolize the administration's failures and frustrations.
Many economic authorities failed to see the financial crisis coming.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crisis'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Semantic crisis Intervention
Some people are bothered by changes in a word’s meaning (see: literally), while others have a more relaxed attitude towards semantic drift. For those who feel vexed when a word seems to have suddenly changed its spots, it may be of some comfort to know that words in English do this all the time; crisis is a fine example. Originally, crisis denoted “the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever.” Now it most commonly means “a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention,” yet few people insist that it should be used exclusively in its older meaning. The normality of semantic change can be seen in another word that first appeared in febrile contexts: hectic, which now is primarily used to mean “very busy,” originally referred to a fever that was fluctuating but recurrent.
Origin and Etymology of crisis
Middle English crise, crisis, borrowed from Latin crisis “judgment, critical stage,” borrowed from Greek krísis “act of separating, decision, judgment, event, outcome, turning point, sudden change,” from kri-, variant stem of krī́nein “to separate, choose, decide, judge” + -sis, suffix forming nouns of action or process — more at 1certain
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of crisis
CRISIS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of crisis for English Language Learners
: a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention
CRISIS Defined for Kids
Definition of crisis for Students
: a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention a medical crisis
Medical Definition of crisis
1: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever; especially : a sudden turn for the better (as sudden abatement in severity of symptoms or abrupt drop in temperature)—compare lysis 1
2: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function tabetic crisis cardiac crisis
3: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life
4: a psychological or social condition characterized by unusual instability caused by excessive stress and either endangering or felt to endanger the continuity of an individual or group; especially : such a social condition requiring the transformation of cultural patterns and values
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