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 Already, the fervid crusade to contain the epidemic refocused a White House meeting centered on high drug prices onto the industry’s ostensibly more commendable work to develop vaccines and therapies that target the virus. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "The coronavirus could help pharma reset its reputation in Washington," 3 Mar. 2020 Already, the pro-Sanders crusade has spawned groups calling for protests at the party’s national convention in July should Sanders not emerge as the nominee. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "Facebook is inflaming the divides tearing at the Democratic Party," 24 Jan. 2020 The Sanders crusade against the media was also emphasized by the hiring of activist David Sirota as a speechwriter. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Bernie Sanders campaign rips CNN: Debate 'a cringe-worthy moment'," 15 Jan. 2020 This summer was huge for the fight for equal pay—thanks largely to the very high-profile crusade of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team leading up to and following their World Cup victory. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "The Women of the WNBA Just Scored an Historic Victory in the Fight for Equal Pay," 14 Jan. 2020 And with the new crusade—against a more stigmatized group, only recently gaining political recognition—came a renewed sense of energy and purpose. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Culture War in the Workplace," 13 Jan. 2020 Expressing that theme has been the crusade of my life. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Q&A with Stephen Hunter, Author of the New Bob Lee Swagger Novel," 2 Jan. 2020 But with his defiance for convention and decades-long crusade for revolution, Sanders is hungry for sweeping action on climate change, student debt and healthcare. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Coronavirus concerns, and a study in contrasts," 27 Feb. 2020 Monday’s announcements dealt a blow to Trump and his allies, who had been encouraging Democrats to defect to bolster their depiction of impeachment as a crusade by extremist liberals., "WASHINGTON — A contingent of Democratic House members from Republican-leaning districts announced one by one Monday that after weeks of extraordinary pressure they have decided to vote to impeach President Trump, as the House hurtles toward historic action on Wednesday.," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 At the time, Mr. Kissinger remarked that America, in its foreign involvements, oscillates between exuberance and exhaustion, between crusading impulses and retreats into self-doubt. Martin Indyk, WSJ, "The Middle East Isn’t Worth It Anymore," 17 Jan. 2020 One of the busiest regions of crusading was in fact the Baltic, where for centuries armies wearing crusader crosses fought against pagans in modern Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Dan Jones, Time, "What the Far Right Gets Wrong About the Crusades," 10 Oct. 2019 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

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

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 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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