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

"a critical attitude"

Related terms: uncritical scathing caviling hypercritical deprecative censorious captious sarcastic unfavorable
2. [ adjective ] characterized by careful evaluation and judgment

"a critical reading" "a critical dissertation" "a critical analysis of Melville's writings

Related terms: uncritical appraising discriminative scholarly discerning
3. [ adjective ] (chemistry and physics) 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" "critical mass" "go critical"

Related terms: noncritical physics chemistry supercritical criticality
4. [ adjective ] urgently needed; absolutely necessary
Synonyms: vital

"a critical element of the plan" "critical medical supplies" "vital for a healthy society" "of vital interest"

Related terms: indispensable
5. [ adjective ] forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis
Synonyms: decisive

"a critical point in the campaign" "the critical test"

Related terms: crucial
6. [ adjective ] 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"

Related terms: noncritical dangerous dangerous acute desperate crucial crisis
7. [ adjective ] of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism

"critical acclaim"

Related terms: criticism
Similar spelling:   critically