the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
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.
a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
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.
investigation of the text, origin, etc., of literary documents, especially Biblical ones: textual criticism.

1600–10; critic + -ism

countercriticism, noun
overcriticism, noun
precriticism, noun

critic, criticism, critique.

2. stricture, animadversion. 4. See review. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To criticism
World English Dictionary
criticism (ˈkrɪtɪˌsɪzəm)
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

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

c.1600, "action of criticizing," from critic + -ism. Meaning "art of estimating literary worth" is from 1670s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


the analysis and evaluation of works of art. More subtly, art criticism is often tied to theory; it is interpretive, involving the effort to understand a particular work of art from a theoretical perspective and to establish its significance in the history of art.

Learn more about criticism with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
But in the criticism or interpretation of literature the writer should be
  careful to avoid dropping into summary.
By removing any real human engagement, they enable us to cultivate our
  narcissism without the risk of disapproval or criticism.
The movie has already sparked criticism from archaeologists and clergy alike.
The renewable energy effort comes under criticism because of its expense.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature