from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vessel made of a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain, used for melting and calcining materials at high temperatures.
  • n. A severe test, as of patience or belief; a trial. See Synonyms at trial.
  • n. A place, time, or situation characterized by the confluence of powerful intellectual, social, economic, or political forces: "Macroeconomics . . . was cast in the crucible of the Depression” ( Peter Passell).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cup-shaped piece of laboratory equipment used to contain chemical compounds when heating them to very high temperatures.
  • n. A heat-resistant container in which metals are melted, usually at temperatures above 500°C, commonly made of graphite with clay as a binder.
  • n. The bottom and hottest part of a blast furnace; the hearth.
  • n. A very difficult and trying experience, that acts as a refining or hardening process.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A vessel or melting pot, composed of some very refractory substance, as clay, graphite, platinum, and used for melting and calcining substances which require a strong degree of heat, as metals, ores, etc.
  • n. A hollow place at the bottom of a furnace, to receive the melted metal.
  • n. A test of the most decisive kind; a severe trial.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vessel or melting-pot for chemical purposes, made of pure clay or other material, as black-lead, porcelain, platinum, silver, or iron, and so baked or tempered as to endure extreme heat without fusing.
  • n. A hollow place at the bottom of a chemical furnace, for collecting the molten metal.
  • n. Figuratively, a severe or searching test: as, his probity was tried in the crucible of temptation.
  • n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vessel made of material that does not melt easily; used for high temperature chemical reactions


Middle English crusible, from Medieval Latin crūcibulum, night-light, crucible, possibly from Old French croisuel, cresset; see cresset.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin crucibulum ("night-lamp, metallurgic melting-pot"), apparently a derivative of crux ("cross"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Whenever my chemistry teacher would use a crucible for heating things, he'd quip that it was invented by Arthur Miller.

    That man is a genius! <3

    June 29, 2008