cru·​sade | \ krü-ˈsād How to pronounce crusade (audio) \

Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims
2 : a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm a crusade against drunk driving


crusaded; crusading

Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in a crusade

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Did You Know?

In 1095, when Palestinian lands were held by Muslims, Pope Urban II exhorted Christians to reclaim the Holy Sepulchre and other venerated sites. Those who responded wore crosses of cloth on their breasts to identify themselves as soldiers in Christ’s army. Medieval French words for such holy wars were croisement, croiserie, croisée, and croisade, all derivatives of crois, meaning “cross.” In the 18th century, long after the crusades themselves had ceased, English borrowed both French croisade and the Spanish cruzado (likewise formed from a word meaning “cross”), blending the two to produce crusade.

Examples of crusade in a Sentence

Noun a grassroots crusade for spending more money on our public schools
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Or another leads a crusade against chicken and the others follow suit. Alison Sherwood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How to encourage your children to eat better, try new foods and behave at meals," 15 Jan. 2020 At the same time, Gutierrez is leading a legislative crusade to get cannabis legalized in this state for both adult and medicinal uses. Gilbert Garcia,, "Podcast: Roland Gutierrez’s two campaigns," 5 Nov. 2019 The Vermonter isn’t new to crusades against billionaires. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "Billionaires are the target in this year’s Democratic campaign," 16 Oct. 2019 At the same time, the North Bay rail line started a parallel crusade against distraction. Rachel Swan,, "Fatalities rise in California from people stepping in front of moving trains," 24 Sep. 2019 The big three The DEA mounted a crusade against Internet pharmacies and corrupt doctors and then took on the companies making and distributing the opioids to prevent drugs from being diverted to the black market. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Tactic 8’ in the secret drug industry plan to defeat the DEA: Find a champion in Congress," 14 Sep. 2019 There is one major difference between King’s fight in the ‘70s and the PWHPA’s crusade today: the stature of the sport. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "The Women’s Hockey Players Taking a Page Out of Billie Jean King’s Playbook," 24 Jan. 2020 In pursuing a statewide ban, Mr. Cuomo could learn from New York City’s tumultuous, yearslong crusade to ban plastic-foam containers, which are commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as Styrofoam containers. New York Times, "New York State Moves to Ban Foam Food Containers," 23 Dec. 2019 The 2010s saw the rise of Twitter rants, boycott hashtags, the #MeToo movement, of course, and Diet Prada, the Instagram juggernaut that tirelessly crusades for independent designers and original ideas. Faran Krentcil, Harper's BAZAAR, "12 Ways Fashion Was Defined in the 2010s," 19 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then the central foursome became a crusading Soul Squad, flying around the world on Tahani’s infinite dime. Darren Franich,, "A sweet Good Place finale rescues a frustrating final season: Review," 1 Feb. 2020 To crusade for it is to be on the side of justice, and so there is no choice but to accuse those obstructing it of being racists, misogynists, élitists, or oppressors. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, "The Equality Conundrum," 6 Jan. 2020 Supporters of the president find the crusading tone of Mr. Greenwald’s work especially grating. New York Times, "Glenn Greenwald in Bolsonaro’s Brazil: ‘I Trigger a Lot of Their Primal Rage’," 25 Jan. 2020 As demand for sedans declines due to consumers' infatuation with high-riding SUVs and pickup trucks, there are two cars that continue to crusade against the impending takeover. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "2019 Honda Accord Hybrid vs. 2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid: Which Gas-Sipping Family Sedan Is Better?," 8 Jan. 2020 Dark Waters, a film in which a crusading trial lawyer is pitted against the DuPont chemical company, is being released nationwide this month. John Fund, National Review, "Hollywood Scare Stories Are Driving Our Politics," 15 Dec. 2019 Alfred, born 1895, enlisted the help of Fryer to his cause, and his impressions of the crusading psychiatrist help place this inadequately known gay figure into context. Los Angeles Times, "Ain Gordon unmasks gay history in ‘217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous’," 13 Oct. 2019 Sometimes, the crusading rhetoric of online cranks and neo-Nazis is translated into deadly action. Dan Jones, Time, "What the Far Right Gets Wrong About the Crusades," 10 Oct. 2019 But then all of this is precisely why imagining a legitimately sinister Joker — and a legitimately crusading Batman — was so difficult for so long., "Remembering the Jokers before ‘Joker’ - The Boston Globe," 2 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crusade.' 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 crusade


circa 1708, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1732, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crusade

Noun and Verb

blend of Middle French croisade & Spanish cruzada; both ultimately from Latin cruc-, crux cross

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Time Traveler for crusade

Time Traveler

The first known use of crusade was circa 1708

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Statistics for crusade

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for crusade


How to pronounce crusade (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any one of the wars that European Christian countries fought against Muslims in Palestine in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries
: a major effort to change something



English Language Learners Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take part in a major effort to change something


cru·​sade | \ krü-ˈsād How to pronounce crusade (audio) \

Kids Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : one of the military expeditions made by Christian countries in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims
2 : a campaign to get things changed for the better a crusade against litter


crusaded; crusading

Kids Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to take part in a medieval military expedition to recover the Holy Land
2 : to take part in a campaign to make things better

Other Words from crusade

crusader \ krü-​ˈsā-​dər \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on crusade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crusade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crusade

Spanish Central: Translation of crusade

Nglish: Translation of crusade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crusade for Arabic Speakers

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