Definition of crisis
- a midlife crisis
- The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.
- a financial crisis
- the nation's energy crisis
- the environmental crisis
- the unemployment crisis
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.
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.
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.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
moment of truth, point of no return;
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Confusing Words—A Quiz