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 The elements above are melted together in a crucible to form an alloy, which becomes the metal that knives are made from. Popular Science, "A deep dive into how knife blades are made," 15 Jan. 2020 The elements above are melted together in a crucible to form an alloy, which becomes the metal that knives are made from. Matt Foster, Field & Stream, "How High-Quality Knife Steel is Made," 8 Jan. 2020 The Académie Julian was a crucible of the Nabis painters, with whom Vallotton began to be associated, probably around 1892 or 1893. Washington Post, "The Félix Vallotton exhibition at the Met is not to be missed," 26 Dec. 2019 If the Civil War was the nation’s crucible, then slavery remains its thick residue, something Homer knew better than most. BostonGlobe.com, "CAMBRIDGE — “Winslow Homer: Eyewitness” begins with a gamut of the young artist’s fast-and-furious Civil War drawings, which were the visual meat of Harper’s Weekly’s reportage from the era. But really, that’s just curator Ethan Lasser clearing his throat.," 4 Oct. 2019 Two years later, Koné, 27, is squatting with 450 other men from Africa in a vacant school building that has become a crucible of the continent’s hopes, problems, and complex feelings toward France. BostonGlobe.com, "For African migrants, hope and a home in a vacant French school - The Boston Globe," 15 Dec. 2019 With rivals Cheyenne Mountain and Lewis-Palmer having won the past 11 state championships in 4A, the Pike’s Peak League stands as a crucible which forges some of the best volleyball in the state. Marco Cummings, The Denver Post, "Even as faces change, Discovery Canyon’s rise up volleyball ranks continues," 11 Oct. 2019 In his first start, under the lights and in the crucible of a conference game rivalry, the freshman quarterback threw for 377 yards, completed 28 of 33 passes, did not commit a turnover and connected on three touchdowns. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Best of the week: The top Pac-12 players, coaches and games from Week Two," 8 Sep. 2019 After enduring a crucible of a schedule stretch at the outset of the season, head coach Chuck Martin has a young RedHawks team playing its best football in November. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Akron-Miami (Ohio) odds: RedHawks favored in midweek MACtion," 20 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for crucible

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crucible.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crucible. Accessed 26 January 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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