Simple Definition of critical
: expressing criticism or disapproval
: of or relating to the judgments of critics about books, movies, art, etc.
: using or involving careful judgment about the good and bad parts of something
Full Definition of critical
1 a : of, relating to, or being a turning point or specially important juncture <a critical phase>: as (1) : relating to or being the stage of a disease at which an abrupt change for better or worse may be expected; also : being or relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death <critical care> <a patient listed in critical condition> (2) : relating to or being a state in which or a measurement or point at which some quality, property, or phenomenon suffers a definite change <critical temperature> b : crucial, decisive <a critical test> c : indispensable, vital <a critical waterfowl habitat> <a component critical to the operation of a machine> d : being in or approaching a state of crisis <a critical shortage> <a critical situation>
2 a : inclined to criticize severely and unfavorably b : consisting of or involving criticism <critical writings>; also : of or relating to the judgment of critics <the play was a critical success> c : exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation <critical thinking> d : including variant readings and scholarly emendations <a critical edition>
3 a : of sufficient size to sustain a chain reaction —used of a mass of fissionable material <a critical mass> b : sustaining a nuclear chain reaction <the reactor went critical>
Examples of critical
The program presents a critical analysis of the government's strategies.
She has a talent for critical thinking.
We need to look at these proposed changes with a critical eye before we accept them.
First Known Use of critical
Synonym Discussion of critical
synonyms see in addition acute
Medical Definition of critical
1a: relating to, indicating, or being the stage of a disease at which an abrupt change for better or worse may be anticipated with reasonable certainty <the critical phase of a fever>b: being or relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death <critical care> <a critical head injury>
2a: of sufficient size to sustain a chain reaction—used of a mass of fissionable materialb: sustaining a chain reaction—used of a nuclear reactor
Seen and Heard
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