cru·​cial | \ ˈkrü-shəl How to pronounce crucial (audio) \

Definition of crucial

1a : important, significant … what use we make of them will be the crucial question.— Stanley Kubrick Vitamins are crucial for maintaining good health.
b : important or essential as resolving a crisis : decisive She played a crucial role in the negotiations.
c : marked by final determination of a doubtful issue the crucial game of a series
2 archaic : cruciform

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for crucial


critical, key, pivotal, vital

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for crucial

acute, critical, crucial mean of uncertain outcome. acute stresses intensification of conditions leading to a culmination or breaking point. an acute housing shortage critical adds to acute implications of imminent change, of attendant suspense, and of decisiveness in the outcome. the war has entered a critical phase crucial suggests a dividing of the ways and often a test or trial involving the determination of a future course or direction. a crucial vote

Examples of crucial in a Sentence

Vitamins are crucial for maintaining good health. It's crucial that we arrive before 8 o'clock. Teachers are crucial to the success of the school. She played a crucial role in the meeting.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The sun's aging is one crucial element that allowed life on Earth to blossom. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Why Aren't There More Habitable Planets? Blame Red Dwarfs," 25 Apr. 2019 The answer is crucial because these younger savers are on the hook to pay for more of their retirements than their parents or grandparents. Stan Choe, The Seattle Times, "For young investors, jumpy market presents first big test," 28 Jan. 2019 In the wake of Trump’s election, showing solidarity and support for populations left most vulnerable by his presidency is crucial in enacting large-scale social change. C Mandler, Seventeen, "Please Stop Wearing Those Pussy Hats To Women's Marches," 18 Jan. 2019 This crucial element was an undercurrent to Van Halen. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "131 Totally Uncensored Minutes with David Lee Roth, From His New Tattoo Skincare Line to the Secret of Van Halen," 11 Dec. 2018 Business schools say their goal now is to preserve that crucial element of the degree for online enrollees too. Amber Burton, WSJ, "Does Your Online M.B.A. Program Feel Too Remote? There’s a Bot For That," 5 Dec. 2018 This combination of ideas — the honest musical expression of one’s creative anxieties — would become a crucial element of BTS. Aja Romano, Vox, "BTS, the band that changed K-pop, explained," 24 Aug. 2018 Cobalt is a crucial element in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, which are found in Tesla cars, among most other consumer electronics. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Newer Tesla batteries contain Cuban cobalt, likely illegal under US sanctions," 20 July 2018 Other crucial elements have been financial support from the school’s foundation and site council so two math teachers could be in the classroom for lower-level courses and limiting classes to around 25 students (instead of 36 to 39). Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Del Norte High math students meet challenge," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crucial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of crucial

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for crucial

French, from Latin cruc-, crux cross

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crucial

Dictionary Entries near crucial







crucian carp

Statistics for crucial

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crucial

The first known use of crucial was in 1706

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crucial



English Language Learners Definition of crucial

: extremely important


cru·​cial | \ ˈkrü-shəl How to pronounce crucial (audio) \

Kids Definition of crucial

1 : being a final or very important test or decision : decisive a crucial battle
2 : very important : significant Water is a crucial element in our weather.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on crucial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crucial

Spanish Central: Translation of crucial

Nglish: Translation of crucial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crucial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on crucial

What made you want to look up crucial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!