crucible

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noun cru·ci·ble \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl \

Definition of crucible

1 :a vessel of a very refractory (see 1refractory 3) material (such as porcelain) used for melting and calcining a substance that requires a high degree of heat
2 :a severe test
  • He's ready to face the crucible of the Olympics.
3 :a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development
  • … conditioned by having grown up within the crucible of Chinatown …
  • —Tom Wolfe
  • His character was formed in the crucible of war.

crucible was our Word of the Day on 07/20/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of crucible in a Sentence

  1. He's ready to face the crucible of the Olympics.

  2. His character was formed in the crucible of war.

Recent Examples of crucible from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Crucible looks like it should be closely related to the Latin combining form "cruc-" ("cross"), but it isn't. It was forged from the Medieval Latin crucibulum, a noun for an earthen pot used to melt metals, and in English it first referred to a vessel of a very heat-resistant material (such as porcelain) used for melting a substance that requires a high degree of heat. But the resemblance between cruc- and crucible probably encouraged people to start using "crucible" to mean "a severe trial." That sense is synonymous with one meaning of "cross," a word that is related to "cruc-." The newest sense of "crucible" ("a situation in which great changes take place" - as in "forged in the crucible of war") recalls the fire and heat that would be encountered in the original heat-resistant pot.

Origin and Etymology of crucible

Middle English corusible, from Medieval Latin crucibulum earthen pot for melting metals

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


CRUCIBLE Defined for English Language Learners

crucible

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noun

Definition of crucible for English Language Learners

  • : a pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted

  • : a difficult test or challenge

  • : a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions


CRUCIBLE Defined for Kids

crucible

play
noun cru·ci·ble \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl \

Definition of crucible for Students

:a pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted

Medical Dictionary

crucible

play
noun cru·ci·ble \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl \

medical Definition of crucible

:a vessel of a very refractory material (as porcelain) used for melting and calcining a substance that requires a high degree of heat


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a strongly worded attack

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