crit·​i·​cize ˈkri-tə-ˌsīz How to pronounce criticize (audio)
criticized; criticizing

intransitive verb

: to act as a critic

transitive verb

: to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly : evaluate
He asked me to criticize his drawings.
: to find fault with : point out the faults of
His boss criticized him for his sloppy work.
criticizable adjective
criticizer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for criticize

criticize, reprehend, censure, reprobate, condemn, denounce mean to find fault with openly.

criticize implies finding fault especially with methods or policies or intentions.

criticized the police for using violence

reprehend implies both criticism and severe rebuking.

reprehends the self-centeredness of today's students

censure carries a strong suggestion of authority and of reprimanding.

a Senator formally censured by his peers

reprobate implies strong disapproval or firm refusal to sanction.

reprobated his son's unconventional lifestyle

condemn usually suggests an unqualified and final unfavorable judgment.

condemned the government's racial policies

denounce adds to condemn the implication of a public declaration.

a pastoral letter denouncing abortion

Example Sentences

His boss criticized him for his sloppy work habits. The judge was widely criticized for his verdict. The editor criticized the author's work as trite. It seems as though all he ever does is criticize.
Recent Examples on the Web James Borghesani, a spokesperson for Hayden, did not criticize Rollins by name when asked for comment Wednesday. Travis Andersen,, 17 May 2023 Likewise, Trump's rivals in the 2024 race, including former South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, criticized the agency in the wake of the report. Asher Notheis, Washington Examiner, 16 May 2023 Instead, in a more than 300-page report released Monday, Durham sharply criticized the FBI but failed to bring about the raft of criminal convictions the previous administration had expected. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 15 May 2023 Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, issued a scathing report in December 2019 that criticized how the FBI won court orders to wiretap Page. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 15 May 2023 Twitter accounts belonging to Muhammed Yakut, a Kurdish businessman who has criticized Erdoğan's regime, and Cevheri Güven, an investigative journalist, were restricted one day before the election, sparking concern the move could have an effect on the election's outcome, according to the report. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 15 May 2023 In March, Musk, who cofounded and helped fund OpenAI, criticized it for switching away from a nonprofit model, taking hefty investments from Microsoft, and not being open source. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 14 May 2023 Officials also criticized human rights groups, who filed a lawsuit just after midnight challenging a new Biden administration rule limiting who qualifies for asylum. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, 12 May 2023 Ukraine has several times used its entries to criticize Russia, winning in 2016 with a song about the expulsion of Crimea’s Tatars by Stalin in 1944. Jill Lawless, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'criticize.' 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 + -ize

First Known Use

1621, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of criticize was in 1621

Dictionary Entries Near criticize

Cite this Entry

“Criticize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


crit·​i·​cize ˈkrit-ə-ˌsīz How to pronounce criticize (audio)
criticized; criticizing
: to examine and judge as a critic
: to find fault with

More from Merriam-Webster on criticize

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