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critical

[krit-i-kuh l] /ˈkrɪt ɪ kəl/
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 pertaining 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
1580-1590
1580-90; critic + -al1
Related forms
critically, adverb
criticality, criticalness, noun
anticritical, adjective
anticritically, adverb
anticriticalness, noun
half-critical, adjective
half-critically, adverb
half-criticalness, noun
noncritical, adjective
noncritically, adverb
noncriticalness, noun
postcritical, adjective
pseudocritical, adjective
pseudocritically, adverb
quasi-critical, adjective
quasi-critically, adverb
Synonyms
1. captious, censorious, carping, faultfinding, caviling. 3. discriminating, exact, precise.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for critical
  • Teaching critical thinking and fostering intellectual well-roundedness are important goals, but too general and self-serving.
  • The guys operating these forklifts are critical members of the building team.
  • Pruning is also critical to maintain this vigorous grower.
  • Groundwater withdrawals rose in tandem, resulting in a large-scale and ongoing depletion of this critical water reserve.
  • Our mission is to inspire people to care about the planet, and that mission is now more critical than ever.
  • The species existed during a critical period in the human evolutionary timeline.
  • Keep critical weather information at your fingertips.
  • It's a critical concept that is difficult to define or measure.
  • The world is facing a critical shortage of doctors, and the prognosis is getting worse.
  • They also fuel conflict over the river's waters-both farms and fish need the critical resource.
British Dictionary definitions for critical

critical

/ˈkrɪtɪkəl/
adjective
1.
containing or making severe or negative judgments
2.
containing careful or analytical evaluations a critical dissertation
3.
of or involving a critic or criticism
4.
of or forming a crisis; crucial; decisive a critical operation
5.
urgently needed critical 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 change a 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 Forms
critically, adverb
criticalness, 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
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Word Origin and History for critical
critical
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. 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
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critical in Medicine

critical crit·i·cal (krĭt'ĭ-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.
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