\ ˈkrəks How to pronounce crux (audio) , ˈkru̇ks How to pronounce crux (audio) \
plural cruxes also cruces\ ˈkrü-​ˌsēz How to pronounce cruces (audio) \

Definition of crux

1 : a puzzling or difficult problem : an unsolved question The origin of the word is a scholarly crux.
2 : an essential point requiring resolution or resolving an outcome
3 : a main or central feature (as of an argument) … he discarded all but the essential cruxes of his argument.— Carl Van Doren

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Did You Know?

In Latin, crux referred literally to an instrument of torture, often a cross or stake, and figuratively to the torture and misery inflicted by means of such an instrument. Crux eventually developed the sense of "a puzzling or difficult problem"; that was the first meaning that was used when the word entered English in the early 18th century. Later, in the late 19th century, crux began to be used more specifically to refer to an essential point of a legal case that required resolution before the case as a whole could be resolved. Today, the verdict on crux is that it can be used to refer to any important part of a problem or argument, inside or outside of the courtroom.

Examples of crux in a Sentence

the crux of the problem is that the school's current budget is totally inadequate

Recent Examples on the Web

At the crux of the lawsuit is a debate over what qualifies as blighted. Shayndi Raice, WSJ, "Activists Try to Stop a Huge Chicago Development Over $1.3 Billion in Tax Incentives," 11 July 2019 The crux of the case was when exactly Parks pulled the trigger. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Jury finds Hezron Parks guilty in shooting death of Tempe Fire Capt. Kyle Brayer," 10 July 2019 The crux of AMLO’s strategy is to bend the state to his political project, by redirecting public spending. The Economist, "AMLO’s populism is both rampant and constrained," 4 July 2019 The crux of its services is to coordinate temporary care for children when parents or caregivers are facing a crisis, rendering them unable to care for their family members. Ramona Sentinel, "Host families needed to provide safety net for children," 27 June 2019 The crux of Williamson’s case is his assertion that Ford unethically manipulated him into signing a contract that Klein argues violated the law by its very design. Michael Mccann,, "Analyzing the $100 Million Lawsuit Against Zion Williamson and CAA," 20 June 2019 At the crux of this story is Rue's ongoing battle with her drug addiction, and while the subject matter is far from easy, the show believes that its a necessary discussion to have. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Zendaya's New HBO Show 'Euphoria' Is a Wild Ride," 17 June 2019 The crux of the carbon question is consumption emissions versus production emissions. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Cities’ climate plans are wildly underestimating emissions," 12 June 2019 But the crux of the loss was that the other Warriors simply were not good enough on Wednesday. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: ‘Strength in Numbers’ was a taunt, not a mantra, for Warriors in Game 3," 5 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crux.' 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 crux

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crux

Latin cruc-, crux cross, torture

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Statistics for crux

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for crux

The first known use of crux was in 1718

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More from Merriam-Webster on crux

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crux

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crux

Spanish Central: Translation of crux

Nglish: Translation of crux for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crux for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crux

Comments on crux

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


to complain fretfully

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