textual criticism


Definition of textual criticism 

1 : the study of a literary work that aims to establish the original text

2 : a critical study of literature emphasizing a close reading and analysis of the text

Examples of textual criticism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

First, the textual criticism of the Bible, originating in Germany and spreading throughout the West, undermined the Biblical foundation of Western Christianity. Garland Tucker, National Review, "Quo Vadis? The Philosophical, Spiritual Floundering of Europe in 2017," 21 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'textual criticism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of textual criticism

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about textual criticism

Share textual criticism

Statistics for textual criticism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for textual criticism

The first known use of textual criticism was in 1859

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on textual criticism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about textual criticism

Comments on textual criticism

What made you want to look up textual criticism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!