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

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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 Shortly after Chaudry’s arrest in September, The Daily Beast and The Washington Post ran multiple pieces highlighting various threads of criticism levied against Callimachi’s work from within and beyond the Times. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "L’Affaire Caliphate," 5 Jan. 2021 Still, the tone and substance of that criticism were unhelpful—even counterproductive. Siva Vaidhyanathan, The New Republic, "Making Sense of the Facebook Menace," 5 Jan. 2021 There’s no doubt that Trevor Lawrence was getting plenty of constructive criticism after Clemson fell to Ohio State 49-28. Mark Heim |, al, "Watch Trevor Lawrence’s reaction to unmuted reporter comment on his mustache during Zoom," 2 Jan. 2021 Fangio, who served 32 years as an NFL assistant before landing his first head coaching job in 2019, apologized after receiving a torrent of criticism, including dismay from Black players and Black game officials. Jarrett Bell, USA Today, "Eric Bieniemy is ready to be a head coach. Which NFL team will finally take him?," 30 Dec. 2020 Palm oil, the highest-yielding vegetable oil, is an important part of the two Southeast Asian countries’ economies and the governments bristle at any form of criticism, saying the industry plays an important role in alleviating poverty. oregonlive, "Child labor in palm oil industry tied to popular U.S. brands, including Girl Scout cookies," 30 Dec. 2020 The league’s image began to erode from the summer onward, as the Big Ten faced a relentless wave of criticism from within its own ranks and outside them as well. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten's 2020 winners, losers: While Michigan football suffered, Michigan State actually won," 28 Dec. 2020 Sterling, a conservative, is one of three people in the secretary of state's office who has borne the brunt of criticism by Trump and members of his own party for the way the presidential election played out in Georgia. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "Voter fraud case hits too close to home for Georgia election manager," 23 Dec. 2020 Padilla was welcomed by Republicans with a blast of criticism for awarding a $35 million voter education contract ahead of the November election to SKDKnickerbocker, a firm with ties to Joe Biden’s campaign. Time, "California Gov. Newsom Picks Close Ally to Fill Kamala Harris’ Senate Seat – and Not Everyone Is Pleased," 23 Dec. 2020

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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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

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