pivotal

adjective
piv·​ot·​al | \ ˈpi-və-tᵊl How to pronounce pivotal (audio) \

Definition of pivotal

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a pivot
2 : vitally important : critical

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pivotal

pivotally \ ˈpi-​və-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce pivotally (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for pivotal

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pivotal in a Sentence

She is at a pivotal point in her career. the report was missing a pivotal piece of information
Recent Examples on the Web Introduced in the film wearing a modest all-white ensemble, Queen opts for an Adam Selman mini-dress and boots, setting up a pivotal turning point in the movie. Kailyn Brown, Los Angeles Times, "What to watch? Check out ‘Queen & Slim’ and learn why those snakeskin boots are so important," 23 Mar. 2020 Thirty-three seconds into overtime, Zibanejad received a pass from Artemi Panarin and slipped it past Washington Capitals goaltender Ilya Sasonov for his fifth goal of the night and a 6-5 victory to give the Rangers a pivotal two points. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "New York Rangers' Mika Zibanejad scores five goals vs. Capitals, including OT game-winner," 7 Mar. 2020 Four days before the crucial South Carolina primary, the presumptive frontrunner is at a pivotal point. Fortune, "Tonight’s Democratic debate: How to watch, start time, and 5 key issues to watch for during it," 25 Feb. 2020 Wednesday night’s debate came at a pivotal point in the campaign as moderate voters are struggling to unify, with some increasingly looking to Bloomberg to become the clear alternative to progressive Bernie Sanders. oregonlive, "Who won the Nevada Democratic debate? Vote here," 20 Feb. 2020 Butler's were longer, more emphatic, and occurred at more pivotal points in the game. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Butler buzz saw: Xavier's three-game win streak snapped by the No. 19 Bulldogs," 13 Feb. 2020 Generation X doctors are at a pivotal point in their professional and personal lives, and the heightened pressures or desire for a career shift might contribute to their increased levels of burnout. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Physician Burnout Is Widespread, Especially Among Those in Midcareer," 15 Jan. 2020 Wednesday’s debate comes at a pivotal point in Democratic race: The Iowa caucuses are less than three months away, but a clear front-runner has not yet emerged in the race for the nomination. BostonGlobe.com, "The Democratic debate hosted Wednesday by MSNBC and The Washington Post had an all-female moderating team.," 21 Nov. 2019 Ford v Ferrari is at a similarly pivotal point in its awards journey. David Canfield, EW.com, "Box office records will not propel Joker to a Best Picture nomination. Here's why," 14 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pivotal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pivotal

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pivotal

Time Traveler for pivotal

Time Traveler

The first known use of pivotal was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pivotal

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pivotal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivotal. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pivotal

pivotal

adjective
How to pronounce pivotal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pivotal

: very important

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pivotal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pivotal

Spanish Central: Translation of pivotal

Nglish: Translation of pivotal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pivotal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pivotal

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!