crit·​i·​cism | \ ˈkri-tə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce criticism (audio) \

Essential Meaning of criticism

1 : the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing : the act of criticizing someone or something There was much public criticism directed/leveled at the senator. The new law attracted/drew widespread criticism. [=many people criticized the new law] See More ExamplesIn this job you need to be able to take/face/accept criticism. I asked my sister for some constructive criticism of my essay before I tried to revise it.Hide
2 : a remark or comment that expresses disapproval of someone or something I had one minor criticism about her design.
3 : the activity of making careful judgments about the good and bad qualities of books, movies, etc. literary criticism

Full 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

Synonyms for criticism


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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 Hertel stuck by her previous criticism of the report, again noting that auditors intentionally used a broader definition of long-term care facilities and therefore obviously arrived at a higher death toll. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 21 Jan. 2022 Talley’s gaze was intense and intimidating, his 6-foot-6-inch frame a preview of the wit and intellect behind his fashion criticism. NBC News, 19 Jan. 2022 Reading Sebald in a German context, and knowing his criticism as well as his fiction, yields a different picture: that of an incorrigible provocateur who never let the facts get in the way of a good anti-German polemic. Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 The fact that the Nazis thought so is hardly dispositive—fascist regimes are not known for their sophisticated literary criticism—and, for every passage that supports such a reading, numerous others complicate or contradict it. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 Over time, Trump has become less pointed in his criticism of Brnovich over Arizona's election results. Adam Brewster, CBS News, 14 Jan. 2022 Her criticism of McCain would be sacrilegious in Arizona political circles. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 14 Jan. 2022 But even the union is moving in the direction of the CDC guidance, despite its criticism of Delta’s approach. Courtney Vinopal, Quartz, 13 Jan. 2022 Benson has attracted national attention for her outspoken criticism of Trump and those who have cast doubt on the 2020 presidential race. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 12 Jan. 2022

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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Time Traveler for criticism

Time Traveler

The first known use of criticism was in 1607

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Statistics for criticism

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for criticism


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

More from Merriam-Webster on criticism

Nglish: Translation of criticism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of criticism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about criticism


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