The Plural of Crisis: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

You came to the right place! From this helpful guide, you’ll learn the definition of the word crisis, how to use it in singular or plural form, its origin, synonyms and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What is the definition of crisis?

It’s always best to know the definition or definitions of a word before you go any farther with it. Here are the definitions of crisis according to

–       The noun crisis is a turning point in a series of events that will, for better or for worse, determine the final outcome. 

–       The word crisis can also be used to describe any dangerous, unstable or dangerous situation. 

–       In addition, a crisis can also be defined as an event in a person’s life that is emotionally or circumstantially intense.

–       In a medical context, a crisis is a situation where a patient reaches a pivotal point that either leads to death or to health.

What is the plural form of the word crisis?

Crisis is a singular noun. The plural form of crisis is crises or crisises. Any singular event or situation is a crisis. However, when referring to multiple events or situations, the plural noun form of crisis, crises, is used.

The history and origin of the word

The English language word crisis is derived from Greek roots and Latin words. The Greek word krísis

means decision, whereas the Latin crisis in English would be used to describe a medical crisis situation.

The word’s first recorded English use was in the late 14th century or early 15th century. For reference, this was right around when the Renaissance began in Italy!

Examples of the Word in Context

The word crisis is usable in multiple contexts. A crisis can be a personal situation where circumstances or emotions are in a critical state or are very intense. Additionally, the word crisis also describes any situation where danger, instability and great risk exist. Finally, a crisis can also be any situation wherein the outcome is significant – a climax or turning point. 

Because the word crisis has multiple meanings and uses, it is important to know how to properly use the word in each context. The following helpful example sentences illustrate how to use crisis in multiple contexts. 

Using Crisis and Crises to Describe Personal Situations:

–       “Jerry experienced a financial crisis in his life when he lost his job and had to re-evaluate everything.” 

–       “He’s having a midlife crisis; he bought a convertible and dyed his hair.”

–       “Roberta and Jeffrey both experienced a crisis of confidence and nearly abandoned hope when their depression became severe.”

–       “She experienced an existential crisis after reading the work of Friedrich Nietzsche for the first time.”

Using Crisis and Crises to Describe Turning Points or sudden change:

–       “The story reached a point of crisis when the main character had to choose between his family crisis and his lover.”

–       “The nation was in crisis during the COVID pandemic­­– people were dying and no one was sure how to help.”

–       “The hurricane came through the state, and the natural crisis caused panic amongst the citizens.”

Using Crisis and Crises in a Medical Context: 

–       “The patient was fading, and the doctor deemed it a crisis, so we had to switch to life support.”

–       “If a loved one is choking, this is a medical crisis and the Heimlich maneuver should be used immediately.”

–       “Hospital workers deal with all kinds of crises daily, which requires a great deal of mental resilience and fortitude. 

Synonyms for Crisis and Crises

A synonym of a word is another word that has the same meaning as that word. Synonyms are helpful in writing to keep your verbiage interesting, precise and clear. You always want to make sure you are choosing the best words possible, and synonyms come in handy when you aren’t sure whether your chosen word is the best.

When writing, it’s always crucial to have multiple words in your arsenal that have the same meaning. This diversifies your vocabulary and prevents overuse of the same word. Additionally, sometimes a synonym of a word is more fitting than the word you originally intended to use. 

Synonyms can be found in a thesaurus – similar to a dictionary, but with a collection of synonyms for each word. Luckily, you don’t have to go your local bookstore to pick up a thesaurus, you can access one online! 

Below are some synonyms for crisis and crises:

Catastrophe: A crisis is not always inherently negative. However, “catastrophe” is an applicable synonym for “crisis” when describing an event or situation that has a major negative impact on other events or on people. When describing multiple “crises,” use the plural “catastrophes” as a synonym.

Change: In a personal context, a crisis often involves significant positive or negative changes to the life of an individual. Using “change” as a synonym for “crisis” is fitting when you are writing about a situation that is not inherently positive or negative but involves transition. Remember that the word “crisis” can refer to any situation that is critical and pivotal. When describing multiple “crises,” use the plural “changes” as a synonym. 

Dilemma: A dilemma (plural dilemmas) is, by definition, a situation where a person must choose between two options, neither of which is clearly better than the other. Using “dilemma” as a synonym for “crisis” is fitting when writing about a critical situation where a person’s choice will influence future events. In addition, using “dilemma” as a synonym for “crisis” is also fitting in a medical context. For example, “The doctors faced a dilemma wherein they either had to turn off the patient’s life support or operate immediately without the proper tools.” 

There are numerous other synonyms for crisis and crises, including emergency (plural emergencies), impasse (plural impasses), deadlock (plural deadlocks), crossroad (plural crossroads), climax (plural climaxes) and more. If you are running out of words to use as synonyms for crisis or crises, take a look at an online thesaurus. 

In addition, check your word processor to see if it includes a built-in thesaurus. It’s always a good move to familiarize yourself with your word processor of choice. You likely haven’t found all the useful tools and shortcuts in it, all of which can come in handy when doing any writing!