Definition of critical
1a : 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 : 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>
2a : 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>
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.>
criticalityplay \ˌkri-tə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun
criticallyplay \ˈkri-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
criticalnessplay \-kəl-nəs\ noun
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.
Origin and Etymology of critical
First Known Use: 1547
Synonym Discussion of critical
synonyms see in addition acute
CRITICAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of critical for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of critical for Students
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.>
Word Root of critical
The Greek word kritikos, meaning “able to judge,” gives us the root critic. Words from the Greek kritikos have something to do with judging. A critic is someone who judges the value or quality or something, such as a movie or book. Someone critical makes a lot of judgments and usually decides that things are not good. To criticize is to make a judgment that something is not good.
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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