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Cru"ci*ble (kr&usuml_;"sĭ*b'l), n. [LL. crucibulum a hanging lamp, an earthen pot for melting metals (cf. OF. croisel, creuseul, sort of lamp, crucible, F. creuset crucible), prob. of German origin; cf. OHG. kr&ū;sul, LG. kr&ü;sel, hanging lamp, kroos, kruus, mug, jug, jar, D. kroes cup, crucible, Dan. kruus, Sw. krus, E. cruse. It was confused with derivatives of L. crux cross (cf. Crosslet), and crucibles were said to have been marked with a cross, to prevent the devil from marring the chemical operation. See Cruse, and cf. Cresset.] 1. 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.
2. A hollow place at the bottom of a furnace, to receive the melted metal.
3. A test of the most decisive kind; a severe trial; as, the crucible of affliction.
Hessian crucible (Chem.), a cheap, brittle, and fragile, but very refractory crucible, composed of the finest fire clay and sand, and commonly used for a single heating; -- named from the place of manufacture.