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
crux was our Word of the Day on 12/04/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of crux in a Sentence
the crux of the problem is that the school's current budget is totally inadequate
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.
Origin and Etymology of crux
Latin cruc-, crux cross, torture
First Known Use: 1718
Seen and Heard
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