\ˈkrəks, ˈkru̇ks \
plural cruxes also cruces\ˈkrü-ˌsēz \

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

The 36th annual Bay State Games have been underway periodically since June, but the crux of the event has yet to be played. Matt Case,, "Taking the long view on the Bay State Games," 6 July 2018 In San Francisco, workers will march in the crux of downtown during rush hour as an act of civil disobedience. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "Thousands of Marriott employees to protest across the USA on Wednesday," 26 June 2018 According to Sky Italia, as quoted by Gianluca Di Marzio, the player and his entourage met with Partenopei Gli Azzurri chiefs in Rome on Wednesday evening where the crux of the discussions surrounded the future of the side's captain., "Reports Claim Napoli Have Set €30m Price Tag as ​Marek Hamsik Requests Exit," 8 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter The crux of Last Gift’s operation is speed, because HIV’s genes and proteins start to degrade within four hours of a patient’s death. The Economist, "HIV+ volunteers are bequeathing their organs to a new project," 31 May 2018 The crux of the report: Cleveland might be able to use its health-care and big-data expertise to better understand and address disparities that impact people's health outside of hospitals. Michelle Jarboe,, "Could 'big data' help Cleveland reduce health disparities - and create jobs?," 21 Jan. 2018 Because this is the crux of the matter: Spurring positive change in the community is a bedrock of local journalism. San Francisco Chronicle, "Faded luster," 1 Apr. 2018 Both sides agree the crux of the issue is the mandatory staffing that exists in the current contract Valenzuela said on Friday that many of his workers commute from the Los Angeles area, and do so because they are guaranteed work. Tod Leonard,, "Pari-Mutuel workers vote to strike in buildup to Del Mar opener," 13 July 2018 According to the latest Times report, this seems to be the crux of the strategy — delay until the midterms and damage the investigation’s credibility. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Giuliani: Mueller can interview Trump if he can prove the president committed a crime," 7 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to crux

the crux

Statistics for crux

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for crux

The first known use of crux was in 1718

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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 reject or criticize sharply

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