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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Indian government has become increasingly aggressive in restricting online criticism and dissent, frequently ordering social media companies to take down posts and blocking the internet altogether in areas with significant dissension. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 Japan started releasing the water from the plant into the ocean last month, drawing strong criticism from China. Fox News, 26 Sep. 2023 The California Supreme Court declined to block the program from going into effect and the Center declined to comment on its criticisms to ABC News. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 25 Sep. 2023 After all, her first artistic love was Nan Goldin, the iconic photographer best known for documentations of the LGBTQ community, the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, and, more recently, her outspoken criticisms of art institutions accepting funds from Big Pharma donors. Seth Combs, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Sep. 2023 The sibling pair have taken the criticism in stride. Anneke Knot, Peoplemag, 23 Sep. 2023 Create a safe, open space where individuals can freely express their emotions and thoughts without fearing criticism or judgment. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 22 Sep. 2023 The ban, part of a public health order aimed at reducing gun violence, was met with legal challenges and criticism, and a federal judge has blocked it. Alex Sundby, CBS News, 22 Sep. 2023 The deal has already opened Biden to fresh criticism from Republicans and others who say the administration is helping boost the Iranian economy at a time when Iran poses a growing threat to American troops and Mideast allies. Jon Gambrell, ajc, 19 Sep. 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 4 Oct. 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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