crisis

play
noun cri·sis \ˈkrī-səs\

Definition of crisis

plural

crises

play \ˈkrī-ˌsēz\
  1. 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. 2 :  the decisive moment (as in a literary plot) The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.

  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

  1. She was dealing with a family crisis at the time.

  2. Most people blame the government for the country's worsening economic crisis.

  3. last year's state budget crisis

  4. In times of national crisis, we need strong leaders we can trust.

  5. A year ago, both companies were in crisis.

Recent Examples of crisis from the Web

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

Synonym Discussion of crisis

juncture, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, straits, crisis mean a critical or crucial time or state of affairs. juncture stresses the significant concurrence or convergence of events. an important juncture in our country's history exigency stresses the pressure of restrictions or urgency of demands created by a special situation. provide for exigencies emergency applies to a sudden unforeseen situation requiring prompt action to avoid disaster. the presence of mind needed to deal with emergencies contingency implies an emergency or exigency that is regarded as possible but uncertain of occurrence. contingency plans pinch implies urgency or pressure for action to a less intense degree than exigency or emergency . come through in a pinch straits applies to a troublesome situation from which escape is extremely difficult. in dire straits crisis applies to a juncture whose outcome will make a decisive difference. a crisis of confidence


CRISIS Defined for English Language Learners

crisis

play
noun

Definition of crisis for English Language Learners

  • : a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention


CRISIS Defined for Kids

crisis

play
noun cri·sis \ˈkrī-səs\

Definition of crisis for Students

plural

crises

\ˈkrī-ˌsēz\
  1. :  a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention a medical crisis


Medical Dictionary

crisis

play
noun cri·sis \ˈkrī-səs\

Medical Definition of crisis

plural

crises

\-ˌsēz\play
  1. 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. 2:  a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function tabetic crisis cardiac crisis

  3. 3:  an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life

  4. 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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