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 Meanwhile, Senate Republicans continue their crusade to end pandemic unemployment benefits at the end of this month. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "There’s No Such Thing as Pandemic Austerity for Billionaires," 10 July 2020 Perhaps this change — this imperative change, this galvanizing change, particularly within the Black community — should be our next children’s crusade. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Johnson: Royta Giles Jr. should be our Four Little Girls; his death, our turning point," 10 July 2020 Norton’s long-standing crusade for her hometown reached a new milestone last month, when the House for the first time approved statehood for the District. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "For Eleanor Holmes Norton, new urgency for long-fought battles," 10 July 2020 The Republican senator became a national figure in 1950 with his anti-Communist crusade, going after the State Department, Gen. George Marshall, other government bureaus and ultimately the U.S. Army before being censured by the Senate in 1954. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Biographer draws from Marquette archives for deeper view of Joe McCarthy," 8 July 2020 Her other, unpaid job — or crusade — was the advocacy of Democratic candidates and liberal local political causes. John King,, "Jane Morrison, longtime S.F. progressive organizer, dies at 100," 5 July 2020 Many Indians openly pilloried them as scientifically backward Neanderthals jeopardizing public health for the sake of an overblown crusade — never mind that many of the protesters took social distancing precautions. Shikha Dalmia, TheWeek, "What makes America exceptional," 2 July 2020 For the activists, the crusade against Perry has provided additional fuel for their cause. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: Activists take their protest to councilman’s house," 1 July 2020 Its decision to impose a draconian new security law in Hong Kong marks the culmination of a multi-generational crusade to reassert full control over the former British colony. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu, CNN, "So much for the West's warnings -- China's going to do what China's going to do," 30 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Stern boasts a fabled history of leading successful investigations, as the New York assistant DA who handled the Malcolm X murder, and as the crusading U.S. attorney for New Jersey who prosecuted leading politicians across the state. Fortune Editors, Fortune, "The best books to read while social distancing, according to Fortune staff," 29 Mar. 2020 The drama, which opened Christmas Day, stars Michael B. Jordan as crusading lawyer Bryan Stevenson and Jamie Foxx as death row inmate Walter McMillian. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "All the movies streaming early amid coronavirus theater closures: 'I Still Believe,' 'Bloodshot,' 'The Way Back'," 19 Mar. 2020 Washington and Adam Driver prove their mettle as top thespians of their generation, and Lee finds plenty of humor and modern relevance here with a narrative of cops crusading against white supremacists. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What a lovely decade! Here are the 10 best movies of the 2010s, from 'Lady Bird' to 'Mad Max'," 27 Dec. 2019 Tony Pro told a series of obscene jokes about Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was crusading against the Mob. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of Dying," 16 Dec. 2019 Stanley Sporkin forced changes in corporate behavior in the 1970s as a crusading enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission who cracked down on bribery of foreign officials. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "SEC Enforcer Stanley Sporkin Cracked Down on Corporate Bribery," 27 Mar. 2020 There is a deep well of affection and nostalgia for this version of Sessions among Alabama primary voters — the pre-recusal Sessions, the crusading conservative senator. David Montgomery, Washington Post, "Will Alabama Take Jeff Sessions Back?," 6 Feb. 2020 Roberts, a Stanford University freshman student, has been crusading for gun-violence prevention ever since 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured in a mass shooting at her high school. Lauren Hernández,, "In rare appearances, prominent survivors of assault, violence gather in a call for action," 12 Feb. 2020 Of course, the Hospitallers were still operational, unlike the Knights Templar, so Ramsey quickly changed his claim to the Templars being the Freemasons’ crusading ancestry. Patrick Masters, Quartz, "The true history of the conspiracy theories about the Knights Templar," 30 Dec. 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

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 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

Spanish Central: Translation of crusade

Nglish: Translation of crusade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crusade for Arabic Speakers

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