crit·​i·​cism ˈkri-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce criticism (audio)
: the act of criticizing usually unfavorably
seeking encouragement rather than criticism
: a critical observation or remark
an unfair criticism
had a minor criticism of the design
: the art of evaluating or analyzing works of art or literature
also : writings expressing such evaluation or analysis
an anthology of literary criticism
: the scientific investigation of literary documents (such as the Bible) in regard to such matters as origin, text, composition, or history

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Fellow original cast member Michelle Rodriguez has been the star most vocal in her criticism of the franchise’s depiction of women, dating back to the initial script’s depiction of her streetwise character Letty. Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 With company morale bruised by cost cutting, internal criticism of Microsoft management is growing, particularly among employees who feel the burden is not being shouldered equally between workers and executives. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 17 May 2023 Bartoe said she was told to look in a mirror in the general manager's office to examine her appearance and believes she was targeted for criticism of her style even though her wardrobe aligned with others in the newsroom. Ryan Wilusz, USA TODAY, 17 May 2023 Although the meeting will take place behind closed doors, board members are likely to consider the superintendent’s successes as well as stark criticism of his leadership style that have spilled into the public arena in recent months. Lillian Reed, Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2023 Part of Harry’s wariness around paparazzi stems from the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who had been vocal about her criticism of paparazzi. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 17 May 2023 The deployment comes amid DeSantis’s ongoing criticism of President Biden and federal immigration policies. Lori Rozsa, Washington Post, 16 May 2023 Some of the initial reviews of the book have been mixed, but Hanks is taking the criticism in his stride. Jack Guy, CNN, 16 May 2023 The education bill attracted national attention and much criticism, which Disney, the state's largest private employer, joined. George Petras, USA Today, 16 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'criticism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


critic entry 1 + -ism

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of criticism was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near criticism

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


crit·​i·​cism ˈkrit-ə-ˌsiz-əm How to pronounce criticism (audio)
: the act of criticizing and especially of finding fault
: a critical remark or comment
: a careful judgment or review especially by a critic

More from Merriam-Webster on criticism

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