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


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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 Those district attorneys have faced harsh criticism over their policies, which include opting not to charge lawbreakers for a number of low-level offenses, even as violent crime reaches all-time highs. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Daunte Wright slaying sparks new 'defund the police' push," 14 Apr. 2021 The company has also faced criticism recently for a series of problems involving its cars. Laura He, CNN, "China is going after tech companies. Tesla is trying to keep out of the way," 14 Apr. 2021 Boehner was also asked about President Joe Biden's willingness to work across the aisle, especially after Biden has faced criticism from Republicans for achieving his agenda without input from Republicans. Michelle Stoddart, ABC News, "Boehner lashes out at Trump, saying he 'abused' voters' trust," 12 Apr. 2021 The governor's office faced criticism late last week in light of Trish Foster, the governor's chief operating officer, posting photos to social media of a family spring break trip to Florida. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer: Michigan to extend workplace COVID-19 restrictions amid surge in cases," 12 Apr. 2021 The Twin Cities’ preeminent hip-hop label and promotions company, Rhymesayers Entertainment — which has long faced criticism for not supporting women artists — dropped two acts, Prof and Dem Atlas, amid last summer’s glut of survivor stories. Star Tribune, "Facing the music," 10 Apr. 2021 As threats to the monarchy’s stability mounted in the 1990s and 2000s, Philip faced criticism for seemingly refusing to adapt to the times. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Prince Philip Modernized—and Fought to Preserve—the Monarchy," 9 Apr. 2021 The recycling company will take over for Waste Management, which faced criticism over the years for too frequently declaring the contents of blue recycling bins in Chicago alleys contaminated, refusing to pick them up. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces new recycling deal for Chicago," 7 Apr. 2021 Villanueva faced criticism for labeling the crash an accident before the investigation had concluded and pushed back Wednesday against allegations of special treatment for the golf star. Stefanie Dazio, Anchorage Daily News, "Tiger Woods was driving almost double the speed limit before SUV crash, sheriff says," 7 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for criticism

Time Traveler

The first known use of criticism was in 1607

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Statistics for criticism

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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