critical

[krit-i-kuhl]
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adjective
  1. inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
  2. occupied with or skilled in criticism.
  3. involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.
  4. of or relating to critics or criticism: critical essays.
  5. providing textual variants, proposed emendations, etc.: a critical edition of Chaucer.
  6. pertaining to or of the nature of a crisis: a critical shortage of food.
  7. of decisive importance with respect to the outcome; crucial: a critical moment.
  8. of essential importance; indispensable: a critical ingredient.
  9. Medicine/Medical. (of a patient's condition) having unstable and abnormal vital signs and other unfavorable indicators, as loss of appetite, poor mobility, or unconsciousness.
  10. Physics.
    1. pertaining to a state, value, or quantity at which one or more properties of a substance or system undergo a change.
    2. (of fissionable material) having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction.

Origin of critical

First recorded in 1580–90; critic + -al1
Related formscrit·i·cal·ly, adverbcrit·i·cal·i·ty, crit·i·cal·ness, nounan·ti·crit·i·cal, adjectivean·ti·crit·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·crit·i·cal·ness, nounhalf-crit·i·cal, adjectivehalf-crit·i·cal·ly, adverbhalf-crit·i·cal·ness, nounnon·crit·i·cal, adjectivenon·crit·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·crit·i·cal·ness, nounpost·crit·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·crit·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·crit·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-crit·i·cal, adjectivequa·si-crit·i·cal·ly, adverb

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for critical

critical

adjective
  1. containing or making severe or negative judgments
  2. containing careful or analytical evaluationsa critical dissertation
  3. of or involving a critic or criticism
  4. of or forming a crisis; crucial; decisivea critical operation
  5. urgently neededcritical medical supplies
  6. informal so seriously injured or ill as to be in danger of dying
  7. physics of, denoting, or concerned with a state in which the properties of a system undergo an abrupt changea critical temperature
  8. go critical (of a nuclear power station or reactor) to reach a state in which a nuclear-fission chain reaction becomes self-sustaining
Derived Formscritically, adverbcriticalness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for critical
adj.

1580s, "censorious," from critic + -al (1). Meaning "pertaining to criticism" is from 1741; medical sense is from c.1600; meaning "of the nature of a crisis" is from 1640s; that of "crucial" is from 1841, from the "decisive" sense in Latin criticus. Related: Criticality (1756; in the nuclear sense, 1950); critically (1650s, "accurately;" 1815, "in a critical situation"). In nuclear science, critical mass is attested from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

critical in Medicine

critical

[krĭtĭ-kəl]
adj.
  1. Of or relating to a medical crisis.
  2. Being or relating to a grave physical condition especially of a patient.
  3. Of or relating to the value of a measurement, such as temperature, at which an abrupt change in a chemical of physical quality, property, or state occurs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.