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 formscoun·ter·crit·i·cism, nouno·ver·crit·i·cism, nounpre·crit·i·cism, noun
Can be confusedcritic criticism critique

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

Examples from the Web for criticism

Contemporary Examples of criticism

Historical Examples of criticism

  • 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.

  • 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

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