piv·ot·al | \ ˈpi-və-tᵊl \

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 \ 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

The takeaway from that story was that staying or going will be Bale's decision, with his meeting with Lopetegui therefore a potential pivotal moment. SI.com, "Gareth Bale to Discuss Real Madrid Future With New Coach Julen Lopetegui as Man Utd Wait to Pounce," 13 July 2018 Kaufman describes 2011 and 2012 as a pivotal moment in Wisconsin’s political transformation, when widespread protests culminated in a recall election against Walker — which the governor survived. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "How Conservatives Bet Big on Wisconsin and Won," 11 July 2018 Project Runway came at a pivotal moment in my career. Hope Reese, The Cut, "How I Get It Done: Nina Garcia, Editor-in-Chief of Elle Magazine," 10 July 2018 And that makes these next few weeks seem like the pivotal moment in the season. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "With veterans on the mound and rotation all set, this could be Giants’ moment," 8 July 2018 The next three months constitute a pivotal moment in the trajectory of the Sixers’ rise, one that will play out almost entirely behind closed doors. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Sixers might look the same, but potential for improvement is huge | David Murphy," 6 July 2018 This pivotal moment could upgrade your swim-trunks game considerably. WSJ, "A Nearly Nude Take on James-Bond Style," 6 July 2018 Will the issue and the outrage fade into the background or help lead to a pivotal moment in the debate over immigration in the U.S.? Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Families Belong Together rally on immigration: What's next after the protests?," 30 June 2018 The first Asian-American to head the DNC in recent memory, Nanda takes the reins from an interim ceo, Mary Beth Cahill, in overseeing the financial and political trajectory of the DNC at a pivotal moment. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "The DNC Is Betting on a Woman Boss To Turn The Midterms Blue," 29 June 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

20 Sep 2018

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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

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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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