crux

noun \ ˈkrəks , ˈkru̇ks \

Definition of crux

plural cruxes also cruces play \ˈkrü-ˌsēz\
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

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

Recent Examples of crux from the Web

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.

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

crux Synonyms

Synonyms
bottom line, bull's-eye, centerpiece, core, essence, gist, heart, kernel, keynote, meat, meat and potatoes, net, nub, nubbin, nucleus, pith, pivot, point, root, sum, sum and substance, the long and short (or the long and the short)
Related Words
course, direction, drift, tenor; body, content, substance; hypothesis, proposition, purport, subject, theme, thesis



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to conform or adhere

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