critical

adjective
crit·​i·​cal | \ ˈkri-ti-kəl \

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 material a critical mass
b : sustaining a nuclear chain reaction The reactor went critical.

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Other Words from critical

criticality \ ˌkri-​tə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē \ noun
critically \ ˈkri-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
criticalness \ ˈkri-​ti-​kəl-​nəs \ 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

Separately, Panasonic already has invested in a battery factory with U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc. Innovations in batteries are critical for electric vehicles, with charging times and costs key obstacles. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Toyota, Panasonic announce venture for green auto batteries," 23 Jan. 2019 Having women’s voices at the table is critical for a number of reasons. Rebecca Nelson, Marie Claire, "2019's Barrier-Breaking Politicians Get to Work," 3 Jan. 2019 The report is particularly critical of Google for providing evidence that Russians bought ads as images and in PDF format, which isn’t machine-readable, instead of file formats that would have been easier for data scientists to analyze. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Reports to Senate criticize social media giants for providing incomplete data in Russia probe," 17 Dec. 2018 The glutes—made up of the gluteus medius, minimus, and maximus—are critical for single-leg stability and power while running. SELF, "7 Smart Things You Can Do to Proactively Prevent Running Injuries," 26 Sep. 2018 Cambodia has grown increasingly close to China in recent years as the government of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen has become estranged from the United States, which is critical of his authoritarian rule. Christopher Bodeen, The Seattle Times, "Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea," 13 Jan. 2019 Gigabit Wi-Fi is a critical part of the Ice Lake platform. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel reveals its 10nm Ice Lake Core and stacked Lakefield CPUs, and 'Project Athena' for laptops," 7 Jan. 2019 This year, two movies about conversion therapy have hit the big screen to critical acclaim. Megan Lasher, Seventeen, "What Is Conversion Therapy?," 20 Nov. 2018 Researchers realized interpersonal skills and camaraderie would be critical to success. Stephen Ornes, Discover Magazine, "Want to be a Mars Astronaut? You'll Need the Proper Mindset," 16 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for critical

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for critical

The first known use of critical was in 1547

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More Definitions for critical

critical

adjective

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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on critical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for critical

Spanish Central: Translation of critical

Nglish: Translation of critical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of critical for Arabic Speakers

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