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

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Other Words from pivotal

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

Synonyms for pivotal


critical, crucial, key, vital

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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

Latham even played a pivotal role in Podesta's infamous email leal during the 2016 presidential campaign. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Sara Latham, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's New PR Manager, Worked for Hillary Clinton's Campaign," 14 Mar. 2019 The Murrays and the camp’s staff were pivotal in gaining access to these animals. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "BBC Earth's "Dynasties" Pulls at Heartstrings With the Painted Wolves’ Fight for Survival," 12 Dec. 2018 John Lentini, an arson investigator, was pivotal in changing these perceptions, and was on the team of scientists examining the Oakland ruins. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The 1991 Firestorm That Changed Everything We Thought We Knew About Arson," 8 Nov. 2018 Which will be pivotal for the advanced robots that will soon labor in our homes. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Don't Just Lecture Robots—Make Them Learn," 9 July 2018 The gravel pits in Kamloops are pivotal in Turenne’s film and for mountain biking in general, which was busy finding its freeride spirit one face plant and busted frame at a time. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Greatest Moments in Sports History. Ever.," 20 June 2018 Determined to produce an authentic sound, Landes set her sights on Fred Foster, the Hall of Fame member who was pivotal in the careers of Parton, Roy Orbison and Kris Kristofferson. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Meet Dawn Landes: All About This Country Newcomer — Including Her Amazing Connections to Loretta and Dolly," 14 June 2018 Her endorsement of Barack Obama was pivotal to his 2008 campaign. Will Weissert, The Seattle Times, "Beto O’Rourke says he’ll decide on 2020 run by month’s end," 5 Feb. 2019 As the South Wales side look to avoid relegation, Dzyuba could help to provide the goals which are so pivotal to Premier League survival. SI.com, "Cardiff Interested in Signing £6m-Rated Zenit Striker After Impressive World Cup Displays," 6 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pivotal

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Statistics for pivotal

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for pivotal

The first known use of pivotal was in 1838

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English Language Learners Definition of pivotal

: very important

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More from Merriam-Webster on pivotal

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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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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