Although "international crisis" is a widespread term, no common definition has yet been achieved: its features have neither been clarified in relation to contemporary events, nor has the role of diplomacy in relation to crises been outlined with precision. Diplomats have even become part of the problem, rather than the problem-solvers, as realist approaches have lost touch with today's poly-lateral world politics. To make up for these lacunae, this article enquires into the present-day nexus between international crisis and diplomacy by first illustrating what international crises mean beyond traditional state-centric definitions and then by considering what diplomacy can offer to tame such turbulent disruptions to the routine of world affairs. In doing so, it introduces a critical definition of international crisis and tests it in relation to a system-oriented description of diplomacy both in its routine and crisis dimensions. Outlining the role of "crisis diplomacy" beyond "diplomatic crises" the essay calls for both a novel understanding of the role of diplomats in these contexts and a greater awareness to the growing complexity of such engagements.