• synonyms


[krit-uh-siz-uh m]
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  1. the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
  2. the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
  3. 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.
  4. a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
  5. 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.
  6. investigation of the text, origin, etc., of literary documents, especially Biblical ones: textual criticism.
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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


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2. stricture, animadversion. 4. See review.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for criticisms

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He kept it to himself, and heard in silence the criticisms made at the club-windows.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Mrs. Pendarves went to see it, and her criticisms are significant for the taste of the time.


    Edward J. Dent

  • However, even on my verses, speak out your criticisms with equal frankness.

  • I shall have the honour of receiving your criticisms in person at Dunlop.

  • Your criticisms, my honoured benefactress, are truly the work of a friend.

British Dictionary definitions for criticisms


  1. the act or an instance of making an unfavourable or severe judgment, comment, etc
  2. the analysis or evaluation of a work of art, literature, etc
  3. the occupation of a critic
  4. a work that sets out to evaluate or analyse
  5. Also called: textual criticism the investigation of a particular text, with related material, in order to establish an authentic text
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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 criticisms



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper