critical

adjective
crit·​i·​cal | \ ˈkri-ti-kəl How to pronounce critical (audio) \

Definition of critical

1a : inclined to criticize severely and unfavorably His critical temperament cost him several friends.
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 a critical commentary on the mayor's proposal
d : including variant readings and scholarly emendations a critical edition
2a : of, relating to, or being a turning point or specially important juncture a critical phase : such 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 : indispensable, vital a critical waterfowl habitat a component critical to the operation of a machine
c : being in or approaching a state of crisis a critical shortage a critical situation
d : crucial, decisive a critical test
3a : of sufficient size to sustain a chain reaction used of a mass of fissionable materiala critical mass
b : sustaining a nuclear chain reaction The reactor went critical.

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Other Words from critical

critically \ ˈkri-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce critically (audio) \ adverb
criticalness \ ˈkri-​ti-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce criticalness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for critical

critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, carping, censorious mean inclined to look for and point out faults and defects. critical may also imply an effort to see a thing clearly and truly in order to judge it fairly. a critical essay hypercritical suggests a tendency to judge by unreasonably strict standards. hypercritical disparagement of other people's work faultfinding implies a querulous or exacting temperament. a faultfinding reviewer captious suggests a readiness to detect trivial faults or raise objections on trivial grounds. a captious critic carping implies an ill-natured or perverse picking of flaws. a carping editorial censorious implies a disposition to be severely critical and condemnatory. the censorious tone of the review

synonyms see in addition acute

Examples of critical in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Willis, 42, a former critical care nurse, runs their spa full time and organizes their books. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "'We're living our ancestors' wildest dreams': Mango-based business is sweet success," 15 Feb. 2020 The job of a vehicle operator, also sometimes called a safety or backup driver, is a critical one as self-driving firms improve their technology on public roads. Michael Laris, Washington Post, "Man deliberately darted his car in front of Waymo minivans to cause crash, Arizona police say," 14 Feb. 2020 The job of a vehicle operator, also sometimes called a safety or backup driver, is a critical one as self-driving firms improve their technology on public roads. Michael Laris, Anchorage Daily News, "Man deliberately put his car in front of self-driving minivans to cause crash, Arizona police say," 14 Feb. 2020 This critical failure leaves consumers to seek out this information and risk inconsistent implementation by individual stores. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Kroger, Target are only grocery chains in Michigan to pass food recall test," 13 Feb. 2020 Giving voice to a range of local personalities serves a critical function in a semi-rural community like Groton, Bouvier pointed out. Nancy Shohet West, BostonGlobe.com, "No guest too big, or small, for Groton’s own talk show host," 13 Feb. 2020 But, as one Greenberg graph on the Republican Party and the 2000 election illustrates, the focus on demographic trends typically leaves pundits with a critical blind spot. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "End the GOP," 13 Feb. 2020 Younger musicians such as Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (who hosted Lewis on his Beats 1 radio show last year) have encouraged a reconsideration of an object of only begrudging critical respect back in the day. Los Angeles Times, "Huey Lewis on his struggle with hearing loss: ‘I thought I might as well kill myself’," 12 Feb. 2020 But more than one CEO Group member in the room for those critical media rights votes told me that the conference commissioner, Scott, called them in the days before the vote, lobbying them to take the deals. oregonlive, "Canzano: Mel Tucker leaving Colorado proves Pac-12 is ripe for the poaching -- and it’s just beginning," 12 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'critical.' 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 critical

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for critical

in sense "being at a turning point," from 16th-17th century cretike, criticke "at a turning point" (Middle English cretic, borrowed from Late Latin criticus "at a turning point, decisive," borrowed from Greek kritikós, taken as derivative of krísis crisis, replacing earlier krísimos) + -al entry 1; in sense "inclined to criticize, involving criticism," from critic entry 1 + -al entry 1 — more at critic entry 1

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Time Traveler for critical

Time Traveler

The first known use of critical was in 1547

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Statistics for critical

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Critical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/critical. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for critical

critical

adjective
How to pronounce critical (audio)

English Language Learners 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

critical

adjective
crit·​i·​cal | \ ˈkri-ti-kəl How to pronounce critical (audio) \

Kids Definition of critical

1 : likely or eager to find fault
2 : consisting of or involving judgment of value, worth, beauty, or quality critical writings
3 : using or involving careful judgment a critical examination of a patient
4 : extremely important It is critical that you follow the instructions exactly.

Other Words from critical

critically adverb

critical

adjective
crit·​i·​cal | \ ˈkrit-i-kəl How to pronounce critical (audio) \

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 material
b : sustaining a chain reaction used of a nuclear reactor

Other Words from critical

critically \ -​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce critically (audio) \ adverb

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