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

Synonyms for critical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for criticality

Historical Examples of criticality

  • Jack could have spitted anybody for coming to disturb him at such a criticality.

    The Ned M'Keown Stories

    William Carleton

British Dictionary definitions for criticality



the state of being critical
physics the condition in a nuclear reactor when the fissionable material can sustain a chain reaction by itself



containing or making severe or negative judgments
containing careful or analytical evaluationsa critical dissertation
of or involving a critic or criticism
of or forming a crisis; crucial; decisivea critical operation
urgently neededcritical medical supplies
informal so seriously injured or ill as to be in danger of dying
physics of, denoting, or concerned with a state in which the properties of a system undergo an abrupt changea critical temperature
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 criticality



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

criticality in Medicine




Of or relating to a medical crisis.
Being or relating to a grave physical condition especially of a patient.
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.