a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures.
Metallurgy. a hollow area at the bottom of a furnace in which the metal collects.
a severe, searching test or trial.

1400–50; late Middle English crusible, corusible < Medieval Latin crucibulum; compare Anglo-French crusil, Old French croi-suel, croisol night lamp, crucible < Gallo-Romance *croceolus (of uncertain origin), probably Latinized on the model of tūribulum thurible Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
crucible (ˈkruːsɪbəl)
1.  a vessel in which substances are heated to high temperatures
2.  the hearth at the bottom of a metallurgical furnace in which the metal collects
3.  a severe trial or test
[C15 corusible, from Medieval Latin crūcibulum night lamp, crucible, of uncertain origin]

Crucible (ˈkruːsɪbəl)
the Crucible a Sheffield theatre, venue of the annual world professional snooker championship

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., from M.L. crucibulum "melting pot for metals," originally "night lamp." First element might be M.H.G. kruse "earthen pot." Used of any severe test or trial since 1645.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
crucible   (kr'sə-bəl)  Pronunciation Key 
A heat-resistant container used to melt ores, metals, and other materials.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The new interpretation is bound to face a fiery crucible as its merits are
  debated by scientists.
Only those of us who have shared the crucible of war can truly understand how
  the bond unites us.
The scientific method is the crucible in which only fact can emerge.
Promising bloodlines can now be developed, though the crucible of the racetrack
  remains several seasons away.
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