Definition of crucible in US English:



  • 1A ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures.

    ‘the crucible tipped and the mold filled with liquid metal’
    • ‘Platinum crucibles are used to melt high-quality optical glass and to grow crystals for computer chips and lasers.’
    • ‘Thousands of stone hammers, anvils, crucibles, metal objects, and pieces of ancient metallurgical debris were also recovered.’
    • ‘An 18th century rubbish pit with contents ranging from dissected human skulls to crucibles used in early firework experiments has been excavated in the centre of Oxford.’
    • ‘Having some experience of metal working, he recognised the fragmentary remains as crucibles and clay casting moulds.’
    • ‘The superheated steel is contained in a crucible located immediately above the weld joint.’
    • ‘When the desired amount of metal is melted, the remaining electrode is quickly retracted and the crucible tilted to pour the metal into the mold.’
    • ‘Molten magnesium does not attack iron in the same way as molten aluminum, and the metal can therefore be melted and held at temperature in crucibles fabricated from ferrous materials.’
    • ‘Evidence for smithing includes crucibles, and moulds for plain copper-alloy pins.’
    • ‘Archaeologists have also recovered artefacts such as ceramic crucibles used for molten iron and steel, while pieces of railing with fleur de lys terminals may be examples of the products for which the foundry was famous.’
    • ‘Before sealing the crucible, the alkanols were manually stirred with a metal wire to facilitate the mixing of the two components.’
    • ‘The crucible holder is secured to a lid of the furnace, and the furnace lid is guided along upwardly extending guide rods.’
    • ‘Two furnaces melt glass, and there are five crucibles in which it is kept molten, and an equal number of annealers, in which the finished work is cooled down gently to prevent cracking.’
    • ‘Having made the mould, the smith took enough copper to make the object and melted it in a clay crucible.’
    • ‘When handled at the proper furnace temperature and cooled to the proper pouring temperature, the crucible is removed or the metal is tapped into a ladle.’
    • ‘In general, it is recommended that a separate crucible be reserved for melting because of the low impurity limits specified for the alloys.’
    • ‘It assembled them in a stick by mechanical means and a cast was then taken using molten metal from the crucible.’
    • ‘More successful was his production of ceramic crucibles and fire bricks.’
    • ‘Lyophilized samples were crushed in acid-washed crucibles and covered with 20% trace metals grade nitric acid for two hours.’
    • ‘The glass was melted in a platinum crucible in air at 1873K for one hour, annealed, and then cut into 10 x 10 x 3-mm samples.’
    • ‘It was also used for loom-weights, crucibles and moulds.’
    cooking utensil, container, receptacle, vessel
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    1. 1.1 A situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.
      ‘their relationship was forged in the crucible of war’
      • ‘We were at Greenwich Village at the time of the wonderful crucible of creative alteration of the nation.’
      • ‘It's an interesting, even important film, and seems more so today, if only as a document of its time - that crucible when gender roles went up in flames, along with many marriages.’
      • ‘For instance, wetlands that exist between the ocean and the land are fertile crucibles whose extraordinary biodiversity leads to natural evolutions that are crucial to the viability and ongoing evolution of the larger systems.’
      • ‘As she is at pains to point out, there was no unhappy childhood to avenge; no traumas to shove into the creative crucible.’
      • ‘Indeed, the culture of the common people, a rapidly increasing proportion of whom were located in towns and cities, was constantly being reforged and reinvented in the crucible of commercialization and urbanization.’
      • ‘The 5th-century BCE context nevertheless was the crucible in which the ideas and approaches of many different schools of thought were clearly formulated and established in relation to one another.’
      • ‘For it is in this crucible of learning and study that all previous achievements of civilisation will be put to shame.’
      • ‘Television is a crucible - a bubbling cauldron of conflicting ideas that mobilize a series of struggles over meaning.’
      • ‘Millennia of human history may be melting in the crucible of science.’
      • ‘The author called these statements spiritual practice for they could only have been forged in the crucible of each woman's daily living.’
      • ‘The importance of family and peers, coupled with a supportive faculty and institutional climate, all combine in a higher education crucible to aid in the student's achievement.’
      • ‘No one can count, track, or document the host of new ideas and concepts that arise from this intellectual crucible.’
      • ‘His Edwardian age is a crucible of radical change as emerging political and social forces burst through to make their institutional mark.’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin crucibulum ‘night lamp, crucible’ (perhaps originally a lamp hanging in front of a crucifix), from Latin crux, cruc- ‘cross’.