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 Gamecocks seemed unaffected by the crucible of late March basketball, which made sense considering Staley has been a sideline staple of the NCAA Tournament’s second week for about a decade now. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas women's season ends with loss to South Carolina in Elite Eight," 30 Mar. 2021 Alabama’s healers have faced a crucible of dying patients, long shifts, limited equipment, makeshift ICUs, and overrun vaccination sites. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "COVID in Alabama: For health care workers, battling coronavirus took a toll," 8 Mar. 2021 Nkrumah’s trajectory reflects the role of the WASU as a crucible for west African nationalism in the 1940s, but also its waning influence in later years. Yosola Olorunshola, Quartz, "How the West African Students Union drove the anti-colonial agenda in 20th century London," 6 Mar. 2021 New ideas are born in the crucible of this constructive disorder. Time, "The Pandemic Made Us Strangers to Ourselves. Will We Have Learned Anything When It's Over?," 16 Mar. 2021 That is how, in the crucible of rational criticism, superstition and moral error are burned away. Samantha Harris, National Review, "Critical Race Theory Is Dangerous. Here’s How to Fight It," 13 Mar. 2021 Change is inevitable in a story told over decades, every succeeding vehicle forged in a crucible of corporate synergy, fan service, new fashions, creative inspiration and the desire to stay in business. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, "With ‘Justice League,’ Superman is back in movies. But he’s always been better on TV," 9 Mar. 2021 In the crucible of the pandemic, business success has depended largely on preparation, flexibility and leadership strength. Mark Steffe, Forbes, "Three Ways To Get Ahead Of The Next 'Unprecedented' Leadership Challenge," 5 Mar. 2021 See the American Dream come to life in a crucible of personal violence! Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1425: Picture this — a cartoon caption contest," 25 Feb. 2021

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

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crucible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crucible. Accessed 18 Apr. 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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Comments on crucible

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