crit·i·cism | \ˈkri-tə-ˌsi-zəm \

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, 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

Rick Wilson, a veteran Republican strategist from Tallahassee whose unrelenting criticism of Trump has made him a national celebrity, said Scott is smart to try to distance himself from the president on issues such as the child separation policy. Washington Post, "In Senate race, Florida governor in balancing act with Trump," 13 July 2018 Some Democrats have called for the abolition of ICE, in part over criticism of immigration enforcement policies under the Trump administration. Phil Helsel /, NBC News, "Mexican man dies in suspected suicide while held in ICE custody," 13 July 2018 In June, protesters yelled at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen inside a Mexican restaurant as the Trump administration was reeling from criticism over its family separation policy at the border. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Bookstore owner says he called police on woman who confronted Steve Bannon," 8 July 2018 The late Harlan Ellison, whose death at age 84 was announced on Thursday, was famously touchy about criticism. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Harlan Ellison’s Death Raises a #MeToo Quandary," 2 July 2018 Faced with widespread criticism of the family separations, Trump issued an executive order on June 20 to stop the practice. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Immigration rally splits as group calls out Fischer over 'sanctuary city' policy," 30 June 2018 The monarchy had been restored, but during Cromwell’s reign an awful lot of English writing had been stunted; for a time, plays were even banned, for fear of public political criticism. Constance Grady, Vox, "They say a preposition is something you should never end a sentence with. That’s nonsense.," 23 June 2018 Privacy - Terms Read More After flurry of criticism, Charlotte council will vote on deals for RNC convention Charlotte is gaining momentum to land the 2020 GOP convention, sources have told McClatchy. Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte releases details for Monday RNC vote. Here’s how to share your views.," 12 July 2018 Under intense criticism, including from Republican leaders, Trump signed an executive order last month halting family separations. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Unmarked vans, security fences: family reunification proceeds behind curtain of secrecy," 12 July 2018

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

20 Oct 2018

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 \

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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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