wordswarm.net: free dictionary lookup
Wordswarms From Years Past

13-Letter Words
12-Letter Words
11-Letter Words
10-Letter Words
9-Letter Words
8-Letter Words
7-Letter Words
6-Letter Words
5-Letter Words
4-Letter Words
3-Letter Words

Adjacent Words

Crithmum maritimum
critical analysis
critical angle
critical appraisal
critical asset
critical asset list
critical capability
critical information
critical infrastructure protection
critical intelligence
critical item
critical item list
critical joint duty assignment billet
critical mass
critical occupational specialty

Critical definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

CRITICAL, a. [L. Gr. See Critic.]
1. Relating to criticism; nicely exact; as a critical dissertation on Homer.
2. Having the skill or power nicely to distinguish beauties from blemishes; a a critical judge; a critical auditor; a critical ear; critical taste.
3. Making nice distinctions; accurate; as critical rules.
4. Capable of judging with accuracy; discerning beauties and faults; nicely judicious in matters of literature and the fine arts; as, Virgil was a critical poet.
5. Capable of judging with accuracy; conforming to exact rules of propriety; exact; particular; as, to be critical in rites and ceremonies, or in the selection of books.
6. Inclined to find fault, or to judge with severity.
7. [See Crisis.] Pertaining to a crisis; marking the time or state of a disease which indicates its termination in the death or recovery of the patient; as critical days, or critical symptoms.
8. Producing a crisis or change in a disease; indicating a crisis; as a critical sweat.
9. Decisive; noting a time or state on which the issue of things depends; important, as regards the consequences; as a critical time or moment; a critical juncture.
10. Formed or situated to determine or decide, or having the crisis at command; important or essential for determining; as a critical post.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: marked by a tendency to find and call attention to errors and flaws; "a critical attitude" [ant: uncritical]
2: at or of a point at which a property or phenomenon suffers an abrupt change especially having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction; "a critical temperature of water is 100 degrees C--its boiling point at standard atmospheric pressure"; "critical mass"; "go critical" [ant: noncritical]
3: characterized by careful evaluation and judgment; "a critical reading"; "a critical dissertation"; "a critical analysis of Melville's writings" [ant: noncritical, uncritical]
4: urgently needed; absolutely necessary; "a critical element of the plan"; "critical medical supplies"; "vital for a healthy society"; "of vital interest" [syn: critical, vital]
5: forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis; "a critical point in the campaign"; "the critical test" [syn: critical, decisive]
6: being in or verging on a state of crisis or emergency; "a critical shortage of food"; "a critical illness"; "an illness at the critical stage" [ant: noncritical, noncrucial]
7: of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism; "critical acclaim"

Merriam Webster's

adjective Date: 1547 1. a. of, relating to, or being a turning point or specially important juncture <a critical phase>: as (1) relating to or being the stage of a disease at which an abrupt change for better or worse may be expected; also being or relating to an illness or condition involving danger of death <critical care> <a patient listed in critical condition> (2) relating to or being a state in which or a measurement or point at which some quality, property, or phenomenon suffers a definite change <critical temperature> b. crucial, decisive <a critical test> c. indispensable, vital <a critical waterfowl habitat> <a component critical to the operation of a machine> d. being in or approaching a state of crisis <a critical shortage> <a critical situation> 2. a. inclined to criticize severely and unfavorably b. consisting of or involving criticism <critical writings>; also of or relating to the judgment of critics <the play was a critical success> c. exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation <critical thinking> d. including variant readings and scholarly emendations <a critical edition> 3. a. of sufficient size to sustain a chain reaction used of a mass of fissionable material <a critical mass> b. sustaining a nuclear chain reaction <the reactor went critical> criticality noun critically adverb criticalness noun Synonyms: critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, carping, censorious mean inclined to look for and point out faults and defects. critical may also imply an effort to see a thing clearly and truly in order to judge it fairly <a critical essay>. hypercritical suggests a tendency to judge by unreasonably strict standards <hypercritical disparagement of other people's work>. faultfinding implies a querulous or exacting temperament <a faultfinding reviewer>. captious suggests a readiness to detect trivial faults or raise objections on trivial grounds <a captious critic>. carping implies an ill-natured or perverse picking of flaws <a carping editorial>. censorious implies a disposition to be severely critical and condemnatory <the censorious tone of the review>. Synonym: see in addition acute.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

adj. 1 a making or involving adverse or censorious comments or judgements. b expressing or involving criticism. 2 skilful at or engaged in criticism. 3 providing textual criticism (a critical edition of Milton). 4 a of or at a crisis; involving risk or suspense (in a critical condition; a critical operation). b decisive, crucial (of critical importance; at the critical moment). 5 a Math. & Physics marking transition from one state etc. to another (critical angle). b Physics (of a nuclear reactor) maintaining a self-sustaining chain reaction. Phrases and idioms: critical apparatus = APPARATUS 4. critical mass Physics the amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. critical path the sequence of stages determining the minimum time needed for an operation. critical temperature Chem. the temperature above which a gas cannot be liquefied. Derivatives: criticality n. (in sense 5). critically adv. criticalness n. Etymology: L criticus: see CRITIC

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Critical Crit"ic*al (kr?t"?-kal), 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.'' Critical point (Physics), a certain temperature, different for different gases, but always the same for each gas, regarded as the limit above which no amount of pressure can produce condensation to a liquid.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

Frequency: The word is one of the 1500 most common words in English. 1. A critical time, factor, or situation is extremely important. The incident happened at a critical point in the campaign... He says setting priorities is of critical importance... How you finance a business is critical to the success of your venture. = crucial ADJ critically Economic prosperity depends critically on an open world trading system... It was a critically important moment in his career. ADV: ADV with v, ADV adj 2. A critical situation is very serious and dangerous. The German authorities are considering an airlift if the situation becomes critical... Its day-to-day finances are in a critical state. ADJ critically Moscow is running critically low on food supplies. ADV: usu ADV adj 3. If a person is critical or in a critical condition in hospital, they are seriously ill. Ten of the injured are said to be in critical condition. ADJ critically She was critically ill... ADV: usu ADV adj, also ADV with v 4. To be critical of someone or something means to criticize them. His report is highly critical of the trial judge... He has apologised for critical remarks he made about the referee. ADJ: oft ADJ of n critically She spoke critically of Lara. ADV 5. A critical approach to something involves examining and judging it carefully. We need to become critical text-readers... ...the critical analysis of political ideas. ADJ: ADJ n critically Wyman watched them critically. ADV 6. If something or someone receives critical acclaim, critics say that they are very good. The film met with considerable critical and public acclaim... ADJ: ADJ n

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

a. 1. Exact, nice, accurate. 2. Censorious, carping, cavilling, captious. 3. Determining, decisive, crucial, turning, important. 4. Dangerous, hazardous, imminent, momentous, dubious, precarious, ticklish.

Moby Thesaurus

Herculean, abstruse, accurate, acute, alarming, allegorizing, annotative, appreciative, arduous, attentive, bad, basic, belittling, brutal, captious, carping, caviling, censorious, charged, choicy, choosy, clamorous, clarifying, climacteric, close, commentative, commentatorial, compelling, complex, conclusive, conscientious, consequential, correct, critic, crucial, crying, cynical, dangerous, dangersome, decisive, delicate, demanding, demeaning, demonstrative, demythologizing, deprecating, deprecative, deprecatory, depreciating, depreciative, depreciatory, desperate, detailed, determinative, differential, difficile, difficult, dire, discerning, discoursive, discriminate, discriminating, discriminative, disparaging, disquisitional, dissertational, distinctive, distinguishing, editorial, elucidative, emergent, enlightening, essayistic, essential, euhemeristic, exact, exacting, exegetic, exemplificative, exigent, explaining, explanatory, explicative, explicatory, explosive, expositive, expositorial, expository, exquisite, fastidious, faultfinding, fine, finical, finicking, finicky, formidable, fraught with danger, fussy, glossarial, grave, hairsplitting, hairy, hard, hard-earned, hard-fought, high-pressure, high-priority, humbling, hypercritical, illuminating, illuminative, illustrative, imperative, imperious, important, insistent, instant, intricate, jawbreaking, jeopardous, judgemental, judgmental, judicative, judicial, judiciary, judicious, juridic, juristic, kairotic, key, knotted, knotty, laborious, loaded, lowering, mean, menacing, meticulous, minute, momentous, monographic, nagging, narrow, nice, niggling, no picnic, not easy, on slippery ground, on thin ice, operose, overcritical, parlous, particular, penetrating, perfectionistic, periculous, perilous, pettifogging, picky, pivotal, precarious, precise, precisianistic, precisionistic, pregnant, pressing, priggish, prudish, punctilious, punctual, puristic, puritanic, quibbling, rationalistic, rationalizing, refined, religious, rigid, rigorous, rough, rugged, scholiastic, scrupulous, scrutinizing, selective, sensitive, serious, set with thorns, severe, significant, slippery, slippy, spiny, steep, strenuous, strict, subtle, tactful, thorny, threatening, ticklish, toilsome, touch-and-go, touchy, tough, trichoschistic, tricky, ugly, ultracritical, uncertain, uphill, urgent, vital, weighty, wicked

comments powered by Disqus

Wordswarm.net: Look up a word or phrase


wordswarm.net: free dictionary lookup