crit·​i·​cism | \ ˈkri-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce criticism (audio) \

Definition of criticism

1a : the act of criticizing usually unfavorably seeking encouragement rather than criticism
b : a critical observation or remark an unfair criticism had a minor criticism of the design
c : critique
2 : the art of evaluating or analyzing works of art or literature also : writings expressing such evaluation or analysis an anthology of literary criticism
3 : the scientific investigation of literary documents (such as the Bible) in regard to such matters as origin, text, composition, or history

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Synonyms for criticism


critique, examen, notice, review

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Examples of criticism in a Sentence

There was much public criticism directed at the senator. In this job you need to be able to take criticism. I asked my sister for some constructive criticism of my essay before I tried to revise it. I had one minor criticism about her design.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And for whatever criticism detractors want to level regarding his slowing speed or lumbering moves, his plus-11 playoff rating was the best among all 16 postseason teams. Tara Sullivan,, "Zdeno Chara showed his grit and leadership right to the painful finish," 13 June 2019 Anyone who has followed the debate on transit here knows the long, tangled story of false starts, missed opportunities, bogus criticisms, city-suburban rivalries and other factors that stymied transit here for decades. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "My trip to foreign city was reminder Detroit's transit system needs work," 13 June 2019 The diocese is considering steps to address criticism about Ryan’s inclusion in the display, said Alex Rechenmacher, executive assistant to Conlon. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: A Joliet bishop engaged in sexual misconduct. The diocese still displays his picture in the cathedral.," 13 June 2019 On Thursday, Conrad pointed to that change as evidence the department is willing to take criticism, to listen to what the public has to say and to incorporate that in what police are doing. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville launches initiative to bridge gap between police and community," 13 June 2019 The plan was met with criticism by those who worried that businesses would balk at the cost of investing in the ISS, and that scientific efforts would suffer as a result of commercialization. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The International Space Station Is Open For Business—And Tourists," 12 June 2019 Hayes was asked Wednesday about Ackman’s criticism. Stephen Singer,, "Activist investor raps UTC-Raytheon deal as undercutting share price, pledges opposition," 12 June 2019 Traditional Washington comity largely obscured this weakness, since the White House would typically limit or scrap an arms deal if faced with enough congressional criticism. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Farewell to Arms Deals," 11 June 2019 Instead of taking criticism personally, learn from it if someone points out an error. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for June 11, 2019: Taurus, be ready for sudden change of plan; Aquarius, time for work, not play," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'criticism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of criticism

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for criticism

critic entry 1 + -ism

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Statistics for criticism

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for criticism

The first known use of criticism was in 1607

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More Definitions for criticism



English Language Learners Definition of criticism

: the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing : the act of criticizing someone or something
: a remark or comment that expresses disapproval of someone or something
: the activity of making careful judgments about the good and bad qualities of books, movies, etc.


crit·​i·​cism | \ ˈkri-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce criticism (audio) \

Kids Definition of criticism

1 : the act of finding fault His criticism of her decision made her stop and rethink the plan.
2 : a remark that expresses disapproval I had only one criticism about his work.
3 : a careful judgment or review especially by a person whose job is to judge the value, worth, beauty, or quality of something

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Comments on criticism

What made you want to look up criticism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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