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


a grassroots crusade for spending more money on our public schools

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thomas’s late-life crusades on behalf of voting rights for white women as well as public education for all may be representative—or not. Brenda Wineapple, The New Republic, "Who wrote women out of Civil War history?," 16 Aug. 2019 SupMatto says he’s seen how online communities, many with disparate motives, have latched onto his story and used it to further online crusades against 2K, Gearbox, and others. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "2K Games defends ‘necessary actions’ against YouTuber who shared Borderlands 3 leaks," 7 Aug. 2019 The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have sparked widespread, often galvanizing change, but in this venture, Darling and Currie forgo dwelling on past wounds or joining existing crusades., "How rock veterans from Runaways, Fanny joined forces," 29 July 2019 The Communist Youth League, meanwhile, organized another trending hashtag: #The fan girls’ crusade# (#饭圈出征#). Youyou Zhou, Quartz, "China’s fan-girl culture is mobilizing against the Hong Kong protests," 18 Aug. 2019 Since the birth of his daughter Alexis Olympia, the co-founder and managing partner of VC firm Initialized Capital has been on a crusade to support fathers, to encourage paternity leave, and to get more dads to be involved in their children's lives. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "In Praise of Dadfluencers," 16 June 2019 For the past nine years, Kim Kardashian West has been on a very public crusade to find a cure for her own psoriasis, a journey that an estimated 7.5 million Americans can relate to. Rachel Lubitz,, "We Spoke To Kim Kardashian's "Medical Medium" About Her Psoriasis Struggle," 15 June 2019 In addition to widespread derision, Wright’s crusade has inflicted damage on his business interests. Olga Kharif,, "Craig Wright says he invented bitcoin. Now he’s suing those who doubt him," 20 June 2019 Despite pleas from the NAACP and the ACLU, the 1990s brought no relief from Biden’s crime crusade. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His conviction was ultimately overturned in 1993, thanks to the crusading efforts of Stevenson (played here by Michael B. Jordan), who exposed the myriad missteps in the case, from suppressed evidence to outright perjury. Los Angeles Times, "Toronto Film Festival: ‘Waves’ and ‘Just Mercy’ shine a light on black American families in crisis," 7 Sep. 2019 For decades, crusading journalist, civil rights activist and women’s rights pioneer Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s legacy and story lingered in the shadows of history. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: Ex-top cop Garry McCarthy defends background checks, one of the largest Chicago office leases in recent years and other things to know to start your day," 20 Aug. 2019 Kardashian West is still crusading for prison reform and is said to have been visiting jails around the capital and Maryland area this past week. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Goes for the Gold at the White House," 26 July 2019 Like Sanders, Warren has crusaded against rising income inequality and released detailed proposals for taking on Wall Street and expanding government programs., "Bernie Sanders: Eliminate all $1.6 trillion in student loan debt," 24 June 2019 Yet, to my especial surprise, many of these downtrodden damsels weren’t crusading millennial activists fresh from campus indoctrination camps but women in their sixties from my own generation. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 But a paying readership soon developed, lured by Billy’s crusading front-page editorials taking the studio bosses to task. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "‘Hollywood Godfather’ Review: Shaking Down Tinseltown," 27 Dec. 2018 Around the same time, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell similarly crusaded against Microsoft's closed-platform plans—and rolled out a lukewarm Steam Box initiative to try to combat it. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Confirmed: Fortnite on Android will drive its bus past Google’s 30% cut [Updated]," 3 Aug. 2018 Franco, who was black and a lesbian, crusaded for black and gay causes. Sergio Ramalho, The Seattle Times, "Sister of slain Brazilian councilwoman calls for justice," 14 Jan. 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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Statistics for crusade

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crusade

The first known use of crusade was circa 1708

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More Definitions for crusade



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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