crucible

noun
cru·​ci·​ble | \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl How to pronounce crucible (audio) \

Definition of crucible

1 : a vessel of a very refractory (see refractory entry 1 sense 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.

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Synonyms for crucible

Synonyms

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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.

Examples of crucible in a Sentence

He's ready to face the crucible of the Olympics. His character was formed in the crucible of war.
Recent Examples on the Web Already, at least a dozen states are pausing their reopening plans and others are looking at ways to keep the weekend's Fourth of July holiday from becoming a disastrous crucible of new infections. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for June 29: Coronavirus, Russia, police reform, Facebook, Pakistan," 29 June 2020 Before becoming an author, Ms. Joubert was a teacher in the remote Eastern Cape town of Cradock, which would later be a crucible of Black resistance. Alan Cowell, BostonGlobe.com, "Elsa Joubert, 97, Afrikaans writer explored Black reality," 27 June 2020 Two ideas that have shaped the Middle East for decades, Arab nationalism and political Islamism, grew hotter in the fires of revolution and then were transformed in the crucible. Daniel Byman, Washington Post, "For the Middle East, the Arab Spring was a rare chance to control its own fate," 26 June 2020 In Minneapolis, the crucible of the protests, police spokesman John Elder said most of the looting emanated from demonstrations and targeted nearby businesses, but groups in vehicles also struck stores. Dennis Wagner, USA TODAY, "'Peaceful protests got hijacked': Some criminals used George Floyd protests as cover for looting, police say," 16 June 2020 Birmingham, the crucible of America's long racial divide and the site of some of the most brutal examples of its enforcement, is now without its largest confederate memorial for the first time in over a century. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "Obituary for a racist symbol: Birmingham takes down Confederate monument after 115 years," 2 June 2020 For some, membership is testament to a crucible of experience. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "What Is a Tribe?," 13 Apr. 2020 Sports are a crucible in which players are subjected to high pressure and heat that melt together their best and worst qualities. Kareem Abdul-jabbar, The Hollywood Reporter, "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Six Films for Sports Fans Suffering Withdrawal," 27 Mar. 2020 Another crucible came in this season's Class 7A championship game against Hoover. Dennis Victory, al, "Spain Park’s Sarah Ashlee Barker named ASWA Miss Basketball," 4 Apr. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of crucible

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crucible

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

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Time Traveler for crucible

Time Traveler

The first known use of crucible was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crucible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crucible. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for crucible

crucible

noun
How to pronounce crucible (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crucible

: a pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted
formal + literary : a difficult test or challenge
formal + literary : a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions

crucible

noun
cru·​ci·​ble | \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl How to pronounce crucible (audio) \

Kids Definition of crucible

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

crucible

noun
cru·​ci·​ble | \ ˈkrü-sə-bəl How to pronounce crucible (audio) \

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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