critical
adjective Date: 1547 1. a. of, relating to, or being a turning point or specially important juncture <
a critical phase
>
: as (1) relating to or being the stage of a disease at which an abrupt change for better or worse may be expected; also being or relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death <
critical care
>
<
a patient listed in critical condition
>
(2) relating to or being a state in which or a measurement or point at which some quality, property, or phenomenon suffers a definite change <
critical temperature
>
b. crucial, decisive <
a critical test
>
c. indispensable, vital <
a critical waterfowl habitat
>
<
a component critical to the operation of a machine
>
d. being in or approaching a state of crisis <
a critical shortage
>
<
a critical situation
>
2. a. inclined to criticize severely and unfavorably b. consisting of or involving criticism <
critical writings
>
; also of or relating to the judgment of critics <
the play was a critical success
>
c. exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation <
critical thinking
>
d. including variant readings and scholarly emendations <
a critical edition
>
3. a. of sufficient size to sustain a chain reaction — used of a mass of fissionable material <
a critical mass
>
b. sustaining a nuclear chain reaction <
the reactor went critical
>
criticality nouncritically adverbcriticalness noun Synonyms: critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, carping, censorious mean inclined to look for and point out faults and defects. critical may also imply an effort to see a thing clearly and truly in order to judge it fairly <
a critical essay
>
. hypercritical suggests a tendency to judge by unreasonably strict standards <
hypercritical disparagement of other people's work
>
. faultfinding implies a querulous or exacting temperament <
a faultfinding reviewer
>
. captious suggests a readiness to detect trivial faults or raise objections on trivial grounds <
a captious critic
>
. carping implies an ill-natured or perverse picking of flaws <
a carping editorial
>
. censorious implies a disposition to be severely critical and condemnatory <
the censorious tone of the review
>
. Synonym: see in addition acute.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Critical — Crit ic*al (kr[i^]t [i^]*kal), a. [See {Critic}, n., {Crisis}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Qualified to criticise, or pass judgment upon, literary or artistic productions. [1913 Webster] It is submitted to the judgment of more critical ears to direct and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • critical — UK US /ˈkrɪtɪkəl/ adjective ► extremely important to the progress or success of something: critical to/for sth »Logistics and distribution are critical to an e commerce venture s success. »Critical decisions need to be taken. »We see this as a… …   Financial and business terms

  • critical — 1 Critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, caviling, carping, censorious are comparable when they mean exhibiting the spirit of one who detects and points out faults or defects. Critical, when applied to persons who judge and to their… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • critical — [krit′i kəl] adj. 1. tending to find fault; censorious 2. characterized by careful analysis and judgment [a sound critical estimate of the problem] 3. of critics or criticism 4. of or forming a crisis or turning point; decisive 5. dangerous or… …   English World dictionary

  • critical — 1580s, censorious, from CRITIC (Cf. critic) + AL (Cf. 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 L …   Etymology dictionary

  • critical — I (crucial) adjective acute, anceps, chief, climacteric, climactic, commanding, considerable, deciding, decisive, determining, dubius, essential, eventful, exigent, far reaching, fateful, foremost, grave, imperative, important, imposing, key,… …   Law dictionary

  • critical — [adj1] fault finding, detracting analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory, captious, carping, caviling, cavillous, censorious, censuring, choleric, condemning, critic, cutting, cynical, demanding, demeaning, derogatory, diagnostic,… …   New thesaurus

  • critical — ► ADJECTIVE 1) expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgements. 2) expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. 3) having a decisive importance in the success or failure of something;… …   English terms dictionary

  • critical — crit|i|cal W2S2 [ˈkrıtıkəl] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(criticizing)¦ 2¦(important)¦ 3¦(serious/worrying)¦ 4¦(ill)¦ 5 the critical list 6¦(making judgments)¦ 7¦(art/literature)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1.) ¦(CRITICIZING)¦ if you are critical, you criticize s …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • critical — crit|i|cal [ krıtıkl ] adjective *** ▸ 1 saying when something is wrong ▸ 2 very important ▸ 3 difficult to deal with ▸ 4 seriously sick/injured ▸ 5 according to critics ▸ 6 considering carefully ▸ 7 at level something happens ▸ + PHRASES 1. )… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • critical — [[t]krɪ̱tɪk(ə)l[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADJ GRADED A critical time, factor, or situation is extremely important. The incident happened at a critical point in the campaign... Environmentalists say a critical factor in the city s pollution is its population...… …   English dictionary

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