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[krit-uh-siz-uh m] /ˈkrɪt əˌsɪz əm/
the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.
a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.:
historical criticism; literary criticism.
investigation of the text, origin, etc., of literary documents, especially Biblical ones:
textual criticism.
Origin of criticism
First recorded in 1600-10; critic + -ism
Related forms
countercriticism, noun
overcriticism, noun
precriticism, noun
Can be confused
critic, criticism, critique.
2. stricture, animadversion. 4. See review. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for criticism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am well aware of the criticism which will at once be passed on what I now advance.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • If criticism of this kind is prohibited the doors of the House might as well be shut.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • I have, however, given due credit to German criticism, when it is sound.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus Wilton Wallace Blancke
  • The two lines are clearly Shakespeare's criticism of himself.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • I perceive in your eyes, my indulgent spectators, the criticism which you are too kind to utter.

    Main Street Nathaniel Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for criticism


the act or an instance of making an unfavourable or severe judgment, comment, etc
the analysis or evaluation of a work of art, literature, etc
the occupation of a critic
a work that sets out to evaluate or analyse
Also called textual criticism. the investigation of a particular text, with related material, in order to establish an authentic text
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for criticism

c.1600, "action of criticizing," from critic + -ism. Meaning "art of estimating literary worth" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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