crusade

1 of 2

noun

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

crusade

2 of 2

verb

crusaded; crusading

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.

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Example Sentences

Noun a grassroots crusade for spending more money on our public schools
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
This has engendered a crusade of sorts in fire-prone areas in California and other parts of the West. WSJ, 5 Sep. 2022 The denizens of r/RawMeat seem to skew young and male, and their forum unfurls like a pamphlet for a profound new epicurean crusade. Luke Winkie, Bon Appétit, 31 Aug. 2022 Cheney is hoping to turn her landslide loss in the primary into a nationwide crusade to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. Mariam Khan, ABC News, 21 Aug. 2022 By launching a moralistic crusade against the isolationist senator, the Post could not only discredit one of the president’s most nettlesome critics. James Kirchick, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 The law is part of a conservative crusade that has swept the country. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 June 2022 In those days, Mike McNabb recalled, the Sierra Club and other environmentalists picketed the dam in what seemed a quixotic crusade to remove it and expose the canyons lost to the water in the 1960s. AZCentral.com, 1 Mar. 2022 One who has a master’s degree in linguistics has made green energy a crusade on a reservation where coal, gas, and uranium have reigned supreme for decades, leaving tainted groundwater in their wake. Randall Hyman, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Dec. 2021 In the weeks that followed, the grieving mother demanded answers, rallied her community and sparked a crusade for justice that swept the globe. Shaddi Abusaid, ajc, 27 Nov. 2021
Verb
Rensenbrink taught political philosophy and history at Bowdoin College in Maine for decades and helped found the new political party out of frustration with the Democratic Party and a desire to crusade in favor of peace and the environment. Fox News, 5 Aug. 2022 Rensenbrink taught political philosophy and history at Bowdoin College in Maine for decades and helped found the new political party out of frustration with the Democratic Party and a desire to crusade in favor of peace and the environment. Patrick Whittle, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Aug. 2022 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 6 Feb. 2020 See More

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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Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

circa 1708, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1732, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crusade was circa 1708

Dictionary Entries Near crusade

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crusade. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

crusade 1 of 2

noun

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

crusade

2 of 2

verb

crusaded; crusading
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
crusader
krü-ˈsā-dər
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on crusade

Last Updated: 21 Sep 2022

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