Juncture, pass, exigency, emergency, contingency, pinch, strait, crisis denote a critical or crucial time or state of affairs (as in the life of a person or institution or the history of a country).
Juncture emphasizes the significant concurrence or convergence of events and usually indicates a discernible turning point.
Pass implies a concurrence or convergence of events or a condition induced by such that is evil, distressing, or sometimes utterly confusing.
Exigency (see also NEED ) strongly emphasizes the pressure or restrictions of necessity or the urgency of the demands created by a juncture or pass.
Emergency implies a sudden or unforeseen juncture that necessitates immediate action to avoid disaster; the term need not imply that what constitutes an emergency has also the quality of an exigency, for the latter term is far stronger in its suggestion of extreme difficulty.
Contingency is used of a prospective event or concurrence of events that is fortuitous and is uncertain in respect to either or both the time and the fact of occurrence but that, if it should come to pass, would constitute an exigency or emergency.
Pinch suggests pressure and the need for action but without the same intensity as emergency or exigency; it is particularly appropriate for use of a juncture in personal affairs.
Strait, often in its plural straits, applies to a situation from which the person involved finds it difficult to escape, so hampered or fettered is he by some given or implied set of circumstances.
Crisis applies to a juncture or pass whose outcome will make a decisive difference, for good or ill, in a life or a history or a disease. The term usually connotes suspense, but need not imply either evil in the situation or a particular outcome.