Definition of crucify in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross, especially as an ancient punishment.

    ‘two thieves were crucified with Jesus’
    • ‘Christian tradition records that Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross.’
    • ‘Now it is well known, both from remains of victims of crucifixion and from cadaver experiments, that people were not crucified with nails through the palms.’
    • ‘Some may think that Jesus' allusion to picking up our cross daily is an anachronism since he had not yet been crucified, but the cross was already well-known to the Jews as a hated Roman instrument of execution.’
    • ‘As Jesus was being crucified alongside two thieves, one mocked him, but the other asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.’
    • ‘Previous excavations undertaken at the site have uncovered a Roman coin, a Viking comb and clay moulds which were used for making pilgrims' badges out of lead in the shape of St Andrew crucified on the cross.’
    nail to a cross, hang on a cross
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    1. 1.1 Cause anguish to (someone)
      ‘she'd been crucified by his departure’
      • ‘He was crucifying people who were recently widowed in a most horrific way, people who were still in the grips of devastation.’
      devastate, crush, shatter, hurt deeply, wound, pain, distress, harrow, agonize, mortify, torment, torture
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  • 2informal Criticize (someone) severely and unrelentingly.

    ‘our fans would crucify us if we lost’
    • ‘You've had your say here for months, and you've crucified my son on national media.’
    • ‘Three months ago, after two embarrassing home losses, club president Franz Beckenbauer crucified the players in public, suggesting they could come and see him for ‘extra lessons in winning’.’
    • ‘In a major performance in 1983 in a prominent American city, the critic reviewing the concert crucified the entire recital.’
    • ‘I don't think isolated little incidents from 30 years ago should be suddenly dragged out and used to crucify people.’
    • ‘Lest I be crucified by fans of the series, I get why his character is that way.’
    • ‘Critics who have crucified his contemporaries for less are indulging his failings to a ludicrous degree.’
    • ‘I learnt that I had been vilified, crucified, and made to look like an imbecile.’
    • ‘The football player was crucified by both press and fans, and an all-too-lengthy methodical hate campaign began for the country's new Public Enemy No.1.’
    • ‘He is being accused of rewriting history under a star-spangled banner and the British press is crucifying him for it.’
    • ‘In my first year here, he was crucified when he refused to listen to any kind of criticism in the discussion.’
    • ‘I didn't have the courage to take them to task on national television particularly since they have the microphone and they have 3 hours every morning, five days a week until the election to crucify me if that is their wish.’
    • ‘I thought this was so lame because if, first of all, if the groom had done this, we would be crucifying him.’
    • ‘But the woman, she was the one who was put up on the cross and crucified today on talk radio.’
    • ‘Critical feedback isn't some vicious plot concocted to crucify you - it can be used constructively.’
    condemn, criticize severely, attack, tear apart, tear to pieces, censure, denounce, arraign, lambaste, pillory, carp at, cavil at, rail against, inveigh against, cast aspersions on, pour scorn on, disparage, denigrate, deprecate, malign, revile, vilify, besmirch, run down, give a bad press to
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Middle English: from Old French crucifier, from late Latin crucifigere, from Latin crux, cruc- ‘cross’ + figere ‘fix’. Compare with crucifix.