The word crucial describes something that is important or essential to success, like the crucial dress rehearsals that ensure everything will run smoothly on your play's opening night.

Usage experts insist that the word crucial should be used only to describe something that is truly critical for solving a problem or for resolving a situation, such as a crucial vote that determines a final outcome. In this case the crucial vote is decisive: it determines the outcome. But the word has gained popularity as a way to say that something is important. You might hear someone say, for example, that it is crucial to allow employees to vote on the new schedule to make them feel like they’re part of the process. In this case the sense is “important”: nothing decisive is taking place.

Definitions of crucial

adj of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis

“a crucial moment in his career”
“a crucial election”
“a crucial issue for women”
being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency
critical, decisive
forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis
life-and-death, life-or-death
vitally important
pivotal, polar
being of crucial importance
determining or having the power to determine an outcome
basic and fundamental
of little importance; not decisive

adj of the greatest importance

crucial information”
all important, all-important, essential, of the essence
important, of import
of great significance or value

adj having crucial relevance

crucial to the case”
directly relevant to a matter especially a law case

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.