critical point

noun
1.
Physics. the point at which a substance in one phase, as the liquid, has the same density, pressure, and temperature as in another phase, as the gaseous.
2.
Mathematics.
a.
(of a function of a single variable) a point at which the derivative of the function is zero.
b.
(of a function of several variables) a point at which all partial derivatives of the function are zero.

Origin:
1875–80

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
critical point
 
n
1.  physics
 a.  the point on a phase diagram that represents the critical state of a substance
 b.  another name for critical state
2.  maths the US name for stationary point

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
critical point  
  1. Physics The temperature and pressure at which the liquid and gaseous phases of a pure substance become unstable and fluctuate locally within the substance. The critical point of water is at a temperature of 374°C (705.2°F) and a pressure of 218 atmospheres, at which point it becomes opaque. Compare triple point.

  2. Mathematics

    1. A maximum, minimum, or point of inflection of a curve.

    2. A point at which the derivative of a function is zero, infinite, or undefined.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
At the critical point he'd back out of a fuss with a dog of his own size.
The problem, say conservationists, is that the oceans have reached a critical
  point.
When a star's core contracts to a critical point a series of nuclear reactions
  is unleashed.
For those of us with a strong interest in human genetics the critical point is
  likely to be reached substantially earlier.
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