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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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 Many national observers wrote that the Philadelphia district attorney’s election this month would be a referendum of sorts on whether criminal-justice reforms could survive the crucible of higher crime rates. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 26 May 2021 In that vein, Popovich will be interested in how players such as Walker, Johnson and Vassell handle the crucible of a win-or-go-home game. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 18 May 2021 By creating a space that will bring together artists and innovators, the LUMA Foundation is hoping LUMA Arles will be a crucible for creatives from all backgrounds. Sylvain Heraud; Text By Teddy Brokaw, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 May 2021 Virginia’s 1776 constitution, drafted in the crucible of revolution, had limited the vote to white men who owned a certain amount of property. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 17 May 2021 In Gaza, an impoverished coastal strip that was the crucible of a devastating seven-week war in 2014, Palestinian militants fired surprisingly large barrages of enhanced-range rockets — some 1,800 in three days — that reached far into Israel. New York Times, 13 May 2021 As usual, the dinner was attended by friends, who read aloud from the Yiddish poems Heschel had written while forging his biblical thought in the crucible of the Holocaust. Sohrab Ahmari, WSJ, 7 May 2021 When the pandemic hit 13 months ago, Public Functionary's focus shifted to the immediate needs of the community — but then one crucible was compounded by another with the killing of George Floyd. Alicia Eler, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021 Both pieces make the case that chaos was the crucible from which the modern world emerged, its discordant strains finally tamed into one dominant chord. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Nov. 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

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

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Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crucible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crucible. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for crucible

crucible

noun

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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