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
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 In response to the criticism, Tom Mentzer, Feinstein’s communications director, noted that the senator has voted against 40 of Trump’s appellate nominees and 46 of his District Court nominees. Tal Kopan,, "Progressives target Dianne Feinstein as head of Senate Judiciary Committee," 6 July 2020 Kellyanne Conway's family dynamic has been the subject of attention over the years due to George Conway's frequent criticism of the president on Twitter and as a commentator. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Kellyanne Conway's teen daughter hopes to help 'educate' with TikToks opposing Trump, supporting Black Lives Matter," 1 July 2020 But New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is feeling considerable heat over the issue, adding to criticism of his handling of the pandemic. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu, CNN, "The world isn't laughing at America -- it's pitying us," 28 June 2020 Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat who has led Oakland since 2015, took to Twitter to respond to Trump's harsh criticism. Fox News, "Oakland mayor hits back at Trump after says city is 'hell'," 27 June 2020 Zuckerburg responded to criticism Friday by announcing Facebook would put a warning label on all posts that break its rules but are considered newsworthy, providing no exceptions for politicians, including President Trump. Tim O'donnell, TheWeek, "10 things you need to know today: June 27, 2020," 27 June 2020 The pressure on activists has led to criticism that the liberal government of President Moon Jae-in is sacrificing democratic principles to salvage its faltering efforts for reconciliation with North Korea. Washington Post, "SKorea police raid office of anti-North leafleting activist," 26 June 2020 Corporations from L’Oréal to Amazon opened the door to criticism by aligning themselves with Black lives, when Black employees’ own experiences said something very different about these corporations’ cultures. Connie Wang,, "The “Grateful To Be Here” Generation Has Some Apologizing To Do," 22 June 2020 Chinese actors, for instance, have likened allegations of police brutality in the U.S. to the criticism China faced for its aggressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong. Eric Tucker And Barbara Ortutay, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Facebook removed $17,000 worth of Trump/Pence campaign ads," 19 June 2020

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

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for criticism


How to pronounce criticism (audio)

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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