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

The district came under criticism for the principal choice after Black Lives Matter Lake County founder and local activist Clyde McLemore said the newspaper articles were easily found through an online search of the job candidate’s name. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Newly hired principal gets $15K from Zion school district to resign before starting," 11 July 2018 Leaning Conservative Kavanaugh has come under criticism from liberals for a number of rulings. Daniela Altimari,, "Who Is Brett Kavanaugh? The Yale Grad Is Trump's Second Supreme Court Pick," 10 July 2018 Since the decision to scrap the swimsuit portion, Carlson, 52, and other members of the board have come under criticism for the push to make the competition more inclusive and less based on physical appearance. Jodi Guglielmi,, "Gretchen Carlson Defends Miss America Changes Amid Mounting Criticism: 'Change Is Difficult'," 9 July 2018 Furthermore, its leaders are less encumbered by particular constituents who may be harmed by a trade tit-for-tat, whereas Trump is already being subjected to criticisms from industry and voters. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Why Trump Might Lose His Trade War With China," 9 July 2018 The company has been the subject of a number of criticisms and lawsuits, both from the U.S. Department of Justice and from former prisoners and their families, who have alleged abuse by GEO employees. Austen Erblat,, "Construction on GEO Group's new headquarters underway," 6 July 2018 The Humane Farming Association launched an opposition campaign, targeting criticism at the Humane Society for not going far enough in requiring livable space for animals. Melody Gutierrez,, "Gas taxes, cage-free chickens and a chopped-up California top fall ballot," 3 July 2018 Panama manager Hernán Darío Gómez reacted furiously to criticism of his side's performances at this summer's FIFA World Cup in Russia., "'You Should Respect Our Team': Panama Manager Launches Into Fiery Rant After WC Loss to Tunisia," 29 June 2018 Germany found itself in this position with a 1-0 loss to Mexico in its opener, which was fairly one-sided and drew heavy criticism at home for coach Joachim Loew's squad. Jenna Fryer,, "Germany under pressure to win against Sweden," 22 June 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

8 Sep 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).


to make amends

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