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Etymology: crisis
by Giovanna D’Abaco

Crisis (n), a turning point in a given situation: for example (a) the turning point for (better or worse) in an acute medical situation or (b) the crucial moment in which a decisive change is impending.

We have been living out the reality of a crisis in both senses of its definition, the fusion of both a medical and a societal emergency. We all stood still in the face of this crisis: COVID-19. According to Etymology Online, ‘crisis’ is borrowed from the Greek krísis, an act of separating, decision, judgement, event, outcome, turning point, sudden change – derived from the Proto-Indo-European root krei-, to sieve.

Giovanna D’Abaco PhD is a member of Editors Victoria, and a member of the Communications subcommittee. Giovanna is a freelance life science editor focusing on postgraduate work such as thesis editing and academic referencing and can be contacted at