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 Abetted by attorney Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s crusade played out against the backdrop of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Monday: ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ on CBS," 5 Jan. 2020 The suggestion: What Jenny wants, Jenny gets. -- FRANK DIGIACOMO The second single from Beyoncé’s self-curated The Lion King: The Gift further bolsters the artist’s crusade for cultural pride and female empowerment. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Best Songs of 2019: Staff List," 11 Dec. 2019 McCaul’s crusade for the fund started organically as a line item on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "‘America has saved a generation from extinction’: Congressman Michael McCaul champions Global Fund to combat infectious diseases," 10 Dec. 2019 That’s why the team’s crusade to find salvageable young talent — all this roster rummaging — should be put on hyper-drive for the final month of the year. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Dolphins need to be scouring the NFL for salvageable, usable talent | Commentary," 6 Dec. 2019 Instead, the electric shift is happening faster than expected and Trump’s tariff crusades have turned the German industry’s global production presence into a liability. Chris Bryant | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Germany’s Car Jobs Boom Comes to a Screeching Halt," 2 Dec. 2019 As discredited figures in business and politics mount comebacks, many of those who led the crusade against graft face retaliation. Letícia Casado,, "Latin America’s fight against corruption stalls," 28 Dec. 2019 Whereas Donald Trump thrived on identity politics — the crusade of the Great White Cheesed-Off Interior Real America vs. . . . Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Mike Bloomberg Runs for President," 5 Dec. 2019 Yovanovitch’s public testimony Friday is expected to showcase how what appears to have begun as the personal crusade of private individuals became intertwined with efforts to use Ukraine to benefit Trump politically. Anchorage Daily News, "Ex-ambassador likely to shed light on murky effort in Ukraine to oust her," 15 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Still, one assemblyman is crusading for a new, better structure. Rachel Swan,, "Assemblyman’s crusade for a new Richmond-San Rafael Bridge: All he needs is $8 billion," 6 Jan. 2020 In their brief filed with the federal appeals court, the Justice Department lawyers sounded more like corporate defense attorneys than crusading trustbusters. Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, "America’s latest corporate takeover: The Justice Department," 19 Dec. 2019 But this 1977 gem isn’t an in-your-face, crusading political film. G. Allen Johnson,, "Agnès Varda retrospectives reveal a master filmmaker who was a humanist at heart," 18 Dec. 2019 Later, from the fourteenth century onwards, Christian rulers and crusading military organizations did battle with armies of the Ottoman empire across the Mediterranean and into eastern Europe and the Balkans. Dan Jones, Time, "What the Far Right Gets Wrong About the Crusades," 10 Oct. 2019 Since joining the House, Rep. Clarke has crusaded for closing the gender pay gap, protecting public schools, improving access to healthcare, and creating programs that provide rehabilitation for ex-offenders. Sarah Cook, al, "Meet the 2019 Women Who Shape the State honorees," 28 Oct. 2019 But thinking Mr Assad would genuinely campaign against corruption is like imagining Mr Trump crusading for civility. The Economist, "Syria’s war is drawing to a close. But the pain will go on," 5 Sep. 2019 As the editorial writer for the Cleveland Recorder, Post crusaded against industrial monopolies and in favor of workers’ rights. Adam Hochschild, The New Yorker, "When America Tried to Deport Its Radicals," 4 Nov. 2019 Rudy Giuliani openly crusaded for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, and met a government official from Kiev in Spain. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "An outsider's guide to the men in Trump's impeachment scandal," 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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 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

Comments on crusade

What made you want to look up crusade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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