inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
occupied with or skilled in criticism.
involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.
of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.
providing textual variants, proposed emendations, etc.: a critical edition of Chaucer.
pertaining to or of the nature of a crisis: a critical shortage of food.
of decisive importance with respect to the outcome; crucial: a critical moment.
of essential importance; indispensable: a critical ingredient.
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.
pertaining to a state, value, or quantity at which one or more properties of a substance or system undergo a change.
(of fissionable material) having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction.

1580–90; critic + -al1

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

1. captious, censorious, carping, faultfinding, caviling. 3. discriminating, exact, precise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
critical (ˈkrɪtɪkəl)
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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

critical crit·i·cal (krĭt'ĭ-kəl)

  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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Example sentences
These things are proved, the first critically, the second legally and
Then the seller, looking critically at the pig, will agree that the weather is
  as his friend maintains.
She looked at him critically from under her shading lashes-but her eyes grew
  gentler almost at once.
He appears there as an enigmatic figure whose life and work were sometimes
  referenced but rarely critically examined.
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