Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of critical
Meaning of critical by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From the suffix -al and Latin criticus < Ancient Greek κριτικός ( kritikos, “of or for judging, able to discern” ) < κρίνω ( krinō, “I separate, judge” ), also the root of crisis ) .


    • IPA: /ˈkrɪtɪkəl/


    critical ( comparative more critical, superlative most critical )

    1. Inclined to find fault or criticize; fastidious; captious; censorious; exacting .
      A good teacher is fair but critical .
    2. Pertaining to, or indicating, a crisis or turning point .
      This is a critical moment .
    3. Extremely important .
      It's critical that you deliver this on time .
    4. Relating to criticism or careful analysis, such as literary or film criticism .
      The movie was a critical success, but bombed at the box-office .
    5. ( medicine ) Of a patient condition involving unstable vital signs and a prognosis that predicts the condition could worsen; or, a patient condition that requires urgent treatment in an intensive care or critical care medical facility .
      The patient's condition is critical .
    6. Likely to go out of control if disturbed, that is, opposite of stable .
      The political situation was so critical that the government declared the state of siege .
    7. Of the point ( in temperature, reagent concentration etc. ) where a nuclear or chemical reaction becomes self-sustaining .
      The reaction was about to become critical .

    Related terms

    See also

    • Critical on Wikipedia .
    • Medical state on Wikipedia .

    External links

    • critical in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • critical in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • critical at OneLook Dictionary Search

Explanation of critical by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. marked by a tendency to find and call attention to errors and flaws

    2. a critical attitude
    3. characterized by careful evaluation and judgment

    4. a critical reading
      a critical dissertation
      a critical analysis of Melville's writings
    5. being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency

    6. a critical shortage of food
      a critical illness
      an illness at the critical stage
    7. at or of a point at which a property or phenomenon suffers an abrupt change especially having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction

    8. a critical temperature of water is 100 degrees C--its boiling point at standard atmospheric pressure
      critical mass
      go critical
    9. forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis

    10. a critical point in the campaign
      the critical test
    11. urgently needed

    12. a critical element of the plan
      critical medical supplies
    13. of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism

    14. critical acclaim

    Definition of critical by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Critical ( krĭtĭkal ), a. [See Critic, n., Crisis.]

      1. Qualified to criticise, or pass judgment upon, literary or artistic productions.

      It is submitted to the judgment of more critical ears to direct and determine what is graceful and what is not. Holder.

      2. Pertaining to criticism or the critic's art; of the nature of a criticism; accurate; as, “critical knowledge; a critical dissertation”.

      3. Inclined to make nice distinctions, or to exercise careful judgment and selection; exact; nicely judicious.

      Virgil was so critical in the rites of religion, that he would never have brought in such prayers as these, if they had not been agreeable to the Roman customs. Bp. Stillingfleet.

      4. Inclined to criticise or find fault; fastidious; captious; censorious; exacting.

      O gentle lady, do not put me to 't,

      For I am nothing, if not critical. Shak.

      5. Characterized by thoroughness and a reference to principles, as becomes a critic; as, “a critical analysis of a subject”.

      6. [See Crisis.] Pertaining to, or indicating, a crisis, turning point, or specially important juncture; important as regards consequences; hence, of doubtful issue; attended with risk; dangerous; as, “the critical stage of a fever; a critical situation”.

      Our circumstances are indeed critical. Burke.

      The small moment, the exact point, the critical minute, on which every good work so much depends. South.

      Critical angle ( Optics ), that angle of incidence of a luminous ray at which it is wholly reflected, and no portion of it transmitted. The sine of this angle is the reciprocal of the refractive index of the medium. -- Critical philosophy, the metaphysical system of Kant; -- so called from his most important work, the “Critique of Pure Reason.”