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


critique, examen, notice, review

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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 Chile, several politicians expressed support for Bachelet following Bolsonaro’s criticism. Washington Post, "Brazil’s Bolsonaro praises 1973 military coup in Chile," 5 Sep. 2019 Petrovic hinted that watching the NBA playoffs gave him ideas for keeping Giannis in check. Bill Simmons who, granted, did some unrelated whining during the USA game against Turkey, saved some criticism for Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brazilian coach throws some shade at Giannis after his team topped Greece in the FIBA World Cup," 4 Sep. 2019 As Jack Shafer and Hamilton Nolan wrote about the first wave of outrage following the Times’s story on this project, there is nothing wrong with doing media criticism and reporting. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Boundless Grift of Right-Wing Media Watchdogs," 4 Sep. 2019 The decision garnered widespread criticism from Democrats and prompted several groups to mount legal challenges against the first $2.5 billion transfer. David Martin, CBS News, "Pentagon signs off on Trump request to use $3.6 billion for border construction," 3 Sep. 2019 Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker’s television critic, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "The Niche Celebrity Satire of “BH90210”," 2 Sep. 2019 This is especially true as China faces criticism that its lending practices are pushing African countries into debt. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Japan has a plan to challenge China’s influence in Africa," 2 Sep. 2019 However, the youngster was an unused substitute during Juve's opening win over Parma last week, which prompted some bizarre criticism on social media., "Juventus Defender Matthijs De Ligt Says He's Not Affected by Bizarre Social Media Criticism," 31 Aug. 2019 Skaggs tells Billboard the video was intended to address criticism that Skaggs had strayed too far from his traditional roots with his crossover style. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Ricky Skaggs on Bill Monroe's Legacy, 'Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music' Doc Airing Tonight on PBS," 30 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for criticism

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for criticism

The first known use of criticism was in 1607

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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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Comments on criticism

What made you want to look up criticism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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