(noun, adjective)


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

- a critical attitude

Similar word(s): captious, faultfinding, censorious, deprecative, hypercritical, overcritical, searing, scathing, vituperative, unfavorable, unfavourable, sarcastic

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

Similar word(s): supercritical

3. characterized by careful evaluation and judgment

- a critical reading

- a critical dissertation

- a critical analysis of Melville's writings

Similar word(s): appraising, evaluative, discriminative, judicial, discerning, scholarly

4. urgently needed; absolutely necessary

- a critical element of the plan

- critical medical supplies

Similar word(s): indispensable, vital

5. forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis

- a critical point in the campaign

- the critical test

Similar word(s): crucial, important, 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

Similar word(s): acute, dangerous, grave, grievous, serious, severe, desperate, dire, crucial, important

7. of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism

- critical acclaim

Sentences with critical as an adjective:

- A good teacher is fair but critical.

- This is a critical moment.

- It's critical that you deliver this on time.

- The movie was a critical success, but bombed at the box-office.

- The patient's condition is critical.

- The political situation was so critical that the government declared the state of siege.

- The reaction was about to become critical.


1. A critical value, factor, etc.