cru·​sade | \ krü-ˈsād How to pronounce crusade (audio) \

Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims
2 : a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm a crusade against drunk driving


crusaded; crusading

Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in a crusade

Did you know?

In 1095, when Palestinian lands were held by Muslims, Pope Urban II exhorted Christians to reclaim the Holy Sepulchre and other venerated sites. Those who responded wore crosses of cloth on their breasts to identify themselves as soldiers in Christ’s army. Medieval French words for such holy wars were croisement, croiserie, croisée, and croisade, all derivatives of crois, meaning “cross.” In the 18th century, long after the crusades themselves had ceased, English borrowed both French croisade and the Spanish cruzado (likewise formed from a word meaning “cross”), blending the two to produce crusade.

Examples of crusade in a Sentence

Noun a grassroots crusade for spending more money on our public schools
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Promising Young Woman Emerald Fennell directs this 2020 thriller starring Carey Mulligan as a 30-year-old medical school dropout who embarks on a vigilante crusade against men who victimize women. Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2021 Carter embarked on a crusade to take down HR once and for all, with or without Team Machine's help. Chancellor Agard,, 22 Sep. 2021 The National Park Service went on a ticket-writing crusade beginning August 2009 when a fellow named Jonny Ward got caught dodging a mussel inspection station at Lake Powell and launched his boat., 2 Sep. 2021 The youngest daughter of president Lyndon Johnson has embarked on a crusade for voting rights — one of the signature hallmarks of his administration. CBS News, 7 Aug. 2021 For more on Brown and Hastings' vaccine crusade, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here. Joelle Goldstein,, 24 June 2021 Kelly wants answers -- and revenge -- and embarks on a crusade to find out what happened and why. Brian Lowry, CNN, 29 Apr. 2021 The film focuses on the crusade of two women -- an American and French resident -- trying to stop the use of Agent Orange, which causes deformities, disabilities, disease and death. John Benson, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2021 During the 2012 anti-corruption crusade, swanky hotels suffered, too, as officials called off banquets and conferences. Michelle Toh, CNN, 29 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Stern boasts a fabled history of leading successful investigations, as the New York assistant DA who handled the Malcolm X murder, and as the crusading U.S. attorney for New Jersey who prosecuted leading politicians across the state. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2020 The drama, which opened Christmas Day, stars Michael B. Jordan as crusading lawyer Bryan Stevenson and Jamie Foxx as death row inmate Walter McMillian. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 19 Mar. 2020 Washington and Adam Driver prove their mettle as top thespians of their generation, and Lee finds plenty of humor and modern relevance here with a narrative of cops crusading against white supremacists. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 27 Dec. 2019 Tony Pro told a series of obscene jokes about Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was crusading against the Mob. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 16 Dec. 2019 Stanley Sporkin forced changes in corporate behavior in the 1970s as a crusading enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission who cracked down on bribery of foreign officials. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, 27 Mar. 2020 There is a deep well of affection and nostalgia for this version of Sessions among Alabama primary voters — the pre-recusal Sessions, the crusading conservative senator. David Montgomery, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2020 Roberts, a Stanford University freshman student, has been crusading for gun-violence prevention ever since 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured in a mass shooting at her high school. Lauren Hernández,, 12 Feb. 2020 Of course, the Hospitallers were still operational, unlike the Knights Templar, so Ramsey quickly changed his claim to the Templars being the Freemasons’ crusading ancestry. Patrick Masters, Quartz, 30 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crusade.' 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 crusade


circa 1708, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1732, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crusade

Noun and Verb

blend of Middle French croisade & Spanish cruzada; both ultimately from Latin cruc-, crux cross

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Time Traveler for crusade

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The first known use of crusade was circa 1708

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crusade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for crusade



English Language Learners Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any one of the wars that European Christian countries fought against Muslims in Palestine in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries
: a major effort to change something



English Language Learners Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

: to take part in a major effort to change something


cru·​sade | \ krü-ˈsād How to pronounce crusade (audio) \

Kids Definition of crusade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : one of the military expeditions made by Christian countries in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims
2 : a campaign to get things changed for the better a crusade against litter


crusaded; crusading

Kids Definition of crusade (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to take part in a medieval military expedition to recover the Holy Land
2 : to take part in a campaign to make things better

Other Words from crusade

crusader \ krü-​ˈsā-​dər \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on crusade

Nglish: Translation of crusade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crusade for Arabic Speakers


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