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, 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

The criticism was still at full pitch on Tuesday morning when Bloomberg published its follow-up article. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Bloomberg report says backdoored Supermicro hardware infiltrated major US telecom," 9 Oct. 2018 The Indonesian government has come under severe criticism for how its warning system acted under the crisis. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Indonesia's Tsunami Warning System Hasn't Been Operational Since 2012," 1 Oct. 2018 The social networking giant has come under intense criticism for the role its popular tools have played in amplifying violence, which has happened in Myanmar and also in India. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "WhatsApp will drastically limit forwarding across the globe to stop the spread of fake news, following violence in India and Myanmar," 20 July 2018 Despite Moon’s positive message from Singapore, his own government came under criticism from North Korean state media on Friday for the pace of inter-Korean economic talks. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "South Korea’s Moon says world will judge if North Korea-U. S. talks fail," 13 July 2018 And Duncan said Trump's criticism of May's Brexit plan is out-of date, with a more detailed white paper being released since Trump sat down for the interview Wednesday in Brussels. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump's bombshell interview with UK tabloid threatens to overshadow visit to Britain," 13 July 2018 The challenge to the 2017 study is the second time this week that the I.A.A.F. has come under criticism. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "Did Flawed Data Lead Track Astray on Testosterone in Women?," 12 July 2018 The program has come under criticism for leniency and because of questions over whether the teen completed the program, particularly among conservatives. Terry Spencer,, "Official says Florida shooting suspect’s mom let him buy gun," 11 July 2018 With its facial recognition software, the company is making a similar argument, claiming that criticism is overblown and that the technology is being used to improve user experience. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Facebook Is Still Abusing Your Privacy," 11 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

17 Nov 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).


by force of circumstances

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