critical


critical
critical 1 Critical, hypercritical, faultfinding, captious, caviling, carping, censorious are comparable when they mean exhibiting the spirit of one who detects and points out faults or defects.
Critical, when applied to persons who judge and to their judgments, is the one of these terms that may imply an effort to see a thing clearly, truly, and impartially so that not only the good in it may be distinguished from the bad and the perfect from the imperfect, but also that it as a whole may be fairly judged or valued
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a tête-â-tête with a man of similar tastes, who is just and yet sympathetic, critical yet appreciative ... is a high intellectual pleasure— Benson

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Critical may also imply a keen awareness of faults or imperfections with often the suggestion of loss of fairness in judgment
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the attitude of Euripides towards the popular religion is . . . clearly and frankly criticalDickinson

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the vast audience . . . was wont to be exceedingly critical. Bungling work drew down upon the headsman the execrations of the mob, and not infrequently placed his own life in danger— Repplier

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When this loss of fairness is to be implied or when the judge's undue awareness of defects and over-emphasis of them is to be suggested, writers often prefer hypercritical to critical
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the audience that night was, as the actors soon knew, hypercritical

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he was . . . exceedingly difficult to please, not . . . because he was hypercritical and exacting, but because he was indifferent— Bennett

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constant hypercritical belittling of the efforts of others— Rosen & Kiene

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Faultfinding sometimes takes the place of critical, sometimes of hypercritical, but usually suggests less background, less experience, or less fastidiousness than either; it is therefore frequently used when an unreasonably exacting or a querulous temperament is also to be suggested
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a continually faultfinding reviewer of books

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a faultfinding parent

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Mrs. Stebbins's book would be better throughout for a more critical (I don't mean faultfinding)account of her authors' works— Bentley

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Captious im-plies a readiness, usually a temperamental readiness, to detect trivial faults or to take exceptions on slight grounds, because one is either unduly exacting or perversely hard to please
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is it captious to say that, when Manoah's locks are called "white as down," whiteness is no characteristic of down?— Landor

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after reading a work of such amplitude it seems captious to protest that the motivating forces ... are inadequately analyzed— Bruun

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Caviling usually implies a captious disposition but stresses the habit or act of raising picayune or petty objections
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caviling legislators who delay the passage of a bill

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the most caviling mind must applaud their devoted sense of duty— Willis

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those caviling critics who snipe from the musty back rooms of libraries— Ramsdell

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Carping, far more than hypercritical or faultfinding, implies ill- natured or perverse picking of flaws and often in addition suggests undue emphasis upon them as blameworthy
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and to that end we wished your lordship here, to avoid the carping censures of the world— Shak.

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that carping spirit in which she had been wont to judge of his actions— Trollope

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Censorious implies a disposition or a tendency to be both severely critical and condemnatory of what one criticizes
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such is the mode of these censorious days, the art is lost of knowing how to praise— Sheffield

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Analogous words: judicious (see WISE): *judicial: fastidious, finicky, particular, *nice, fussy, squeamish: discriminating, discerning, penetrating (see corresponding nouns at DISCERNMENT): understanding, comprehending, appreciating (see UNDERSTAND)
Antonyms: uncritical
Contrasted words: *superficial, shallow, cursory
2 crucial, *acute
Analogous words: decisive, determinative, *conclusive: momentous, consequential, weighty, significant, important (see corresponding nouns at IMPORTANCE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Critical — Crit ic*al (kr[i^]t [i^]*kal), a. [See {Critic}, n., {Crisis}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Qualified to criticise, or pass judgment upon, literary or artistic productions. [1913 Webster] It is submitted to the judgment of more critical ears to direct and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • critical — UK US /ˈkrɪtɪkəl/ adjective ► extremely important to the progress or success of something: critical to/for sth »Logistics and distribution are critical to an e commerce venture s success. »Critical decisions need to be taken. »We see this as a… …   Financial and business terms

  • critical — [krit′i kəl] adj. 1. tending to find fault; censorious 2. characterized by careful analysis and judgment [a sound critical estimate of the problem] 3. of critics or criticism 4. of or forming a crisis or turning point; decisive 5. dangerous or… …   English World dictionary

  • critical — 1580s, censorious, from CRITIC (Cf. critic) + AL (Cf. 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, from the decisive sense in L …   Etymology dictionary

  • critical — I (crucial) adjective acute, anceps, chief, climacteric, climactic, commanding, considerable, deciding, decisive, determining, dubius, essential, eventful, exigent, far reaching, fateful, foremost, grave, imperative, important, imposing, key,… …   Law dictionary

  • critical — [adj1] fault finding, detracting analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory, captious, carping, caviling, cavillous, censorious, censuring, choleric, condemning, critic, cutting, cynical, demanding, demeaning, derogatory, diagnostic,… …   New thesaurus

  • critical — ► ADJECTIVE 1) expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgements. 2) expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. 3) having a decisive importance in the success or failure of something;… …   English terms dictionary

  • critical — crit|i|cal W2S2 [ˈkrıtıkəl] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(criticizing)¦ 2¦(important)¦ 3¦(serious/worrying)¦ 4¦(ill)¦ 5 the critical list 6¦(making judgments)¦ 7¦(art/literature)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1.) ¦(CRITICIZING)¦ if you are critical, you criticize s …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • critical — crit|i|cal [ krıtıkl ] adjective *** ▸ 1 saying when something is wrong ▸ 2 very important ▸ 3 difficult to deal with ▸ 4 seriously sick/injured ▸ 5 according to critics ▸ 6 considering carefully ▸ 7 at level something happens ▸ + PHRASES 1. )… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • critical — [[t]krɪ̱tɪk(ə)l[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADJ GRADED A critical time, factor, or situation is extremely important. The incident happened at a critical point in the campaign... Environmentalists say a critical factor in the city s pollution is its population...… …   English dictionary


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