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

Examples of criticize in a Sentence

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 But some Latino lawmakers have remained notably silent, neither defending nor criticizing Menendez, who is considered a strong ally for Hispanics. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 27 Sep. 2023 Haley denounced former President Donald Trump during his first presidential election campaign, criticizing his rhetoric and immigration policies. Abc News, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023 Conversely, in July, authorities in Kuala Lumpur shut down a 1975 concert after Healy criticized Malaysia’s anti-LGBTQ+ stance onstage. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 27 Sep. 2023 Over the past 2½ years, Chutkan has repeatedly criticized attempts to compare Jan. 6 and its aftermath to injustices against Black people or protests for racial justice. Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 Throughout the summer, city leaders have criticized events that have drawn large crowds of the rich and famous to Malibu, generating traffic issues and other safety concerns. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep. 2023 The international community has widely criticized the Ortega government, with the United Nations likening the government to Nazis who committed crimes against humanity. Frances Robles, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2023 Public officials and human rights groups have criticized the initiative as inhumane and unlawful. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Sep. 2023 Ticket prices last season were slashed 50-70 percent for the last three games of the season, and the Aztecs were roundly criticized (understandably) by season ticket holders for doing so. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Sep. 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 4 Oct. 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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