critical mass


Definition of critical mass

: a size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result the critical mass of activity needed for a retail store

Examples of critical mass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The variety of rules in other battlegrounds means a guessing game as to when either candidate might hit critical mass and clinch. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "For nation on edge, uncertainty hangs over Election Night," 1 Nov. 2020 Ahead of the election, 33 states had already adopted medical or adult use, so any additional states would just add to what’s already a critical mass of support. Tiffany Kary,, "Cannabis, No Longer So Divisive, Draws More Conservative Support," 28 Oct. 2020 Ahead of the election, 33 states had already adopted medical or adult use, so any additional states would just add to what’s already a critical mass of support. Bloomberg News, oregonlive, "Legalizing marijuana is one thing Americans are becoming less polarized about, judging by ballot initiatives," 28 Oct. 2020 Such pressures have reached critical mass throughout the country in the months since the pandemic hit. Shawn Hubler, New York Times, "Colleges Slash Budgets in the Pandemic, With ‘Nothing Off-Limits’," 26 Oct. 2020 That’s largely because the district hasn’t yet achieved critical mass, because much of the new construction has been mediocre in design quality, and because there’s relatively little street-level retail. Steven Litt, cleveland, "New Cleveland Foundation HQ part of bigger plan to uplift Midtown, Hough, city neighborhoods," 25 Oct. 2020 All of these Julia characteristics attracted many scientists to the language early on, creating a critical mass of users even before the particular advantages of its multiple dispatch paradigm generated the current swell of interest. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "The unreasonable effectiveness of the Julia programming language," 9 Oct. 2020 Europe has now reached a critical mass of new cases similar to what the U.S. faced in late June when infections skyrocketed from Florida to California. Andrew Barnett, WSJ, "Europe Overtakes U.S. in New Cases of Covid-19," 14 Oct. 2020 Whether all of this has reached a critical mass that will affect his re-election prospects is an open question. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Trump expands crackdown on illegal immigration as early ballots are cast," 14 Oct. 2020

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

1919, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for critical mass

Time Traveler

The first known use of critical mass was in 1919

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Statistics for critical mass

Last Updated

13 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Critical mass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for critical mass

critical mass


English Language Learners Definition of critical mass

technical : an amount of material (such as plutonium) that is large enough to allow a nuclear reaction to occur
: the size, number, or amount of something that is needed to cause a particular result

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