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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for criticism


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Davis received criticism for not doing that last season. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "How Lakers' LeBron James has prepped Anthony Davis for his return to New Orleans," 27 Nov. 2019 Caliburn has faced criticism for its expanding operations dedicated to holding unaccompanied migrant children in government custody. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Contractor that holds migrant children scraps plans for holiday party at Trump golf club," 25 Nov. 2019 Haskins drew criticism for overthrowing McLaurin and other wide-open receivers, and Washington had to settle for a field goal each time. Stephen Whyno,, "The Redskins rallied to beat Lions 19-16. As they were finishing off the win, QB Dwayne Haskins was taking a selfie with a fan.," 24 Nov. 2019 The Big Sick, Hala has received criticism for featuring yet another protagonist who has a fraught relationship with Islam and who sees her white love interest as one key to self-actualization. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Quiet Rebellions of Hala," 23 Nov. 2019 But Evers has repeatedly — and deservedly — drawn criticism for transparency missteps. Bill Lueders, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No, Governor Evers' record on open government isn't the worst. But it sure could be better.," 20 Nov. 2019 Others noted that Barkley, known for his quick quips, has drawn criticism for previous controversial actions and comments, from the political to the personal., "Charles Barkley apologized in a statement Wednesday morning for telling an Axios reporter, ‘‘I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you.’’," 20 Nov. 2019 The utility has faced intense criticism for its power shutoffs in recent months, which have left entire communities across Northern California without electricity for days at a time. Tatiana Sanchez,, "PG&E warns of potential power shutoffs in Northern California," 17 Nov. 2019 The MOBOs have drawn criticism for honoring too many American artists. Paul Grein, Billboard, "U.K.'s MOBO Awards Set to Return Following a Two-Year Hiatus," 12 Nov. 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.

See More

First Known Use of criticism

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for criticism

critic entry 1 + -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about criticism

Time Traveler for criticism

Time Traveler

The first known use of criticism was in 1607

See more words from the same year

Statistics for criticism

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 state or do over again or repeatedly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!