Critical meaning

krĭtĭ-kəl
Of or relating to the value of a measurement, such as temperature, at which an abrupt change in a quality, property, or state occurs.

A critical temperature of water is 100°C, its boiling point at standard atmospheric pressure.

adjective
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The definition of critical is something that is crucial, judged, analyzed, at a turning point or on the verge of a crisis.

An example of critical is a sky diver having a parachute.

An example of critical is Slumdog Millionaire receiving the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009.

adjective
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Critical is defined as someone who tends to make judgments and find fault with others.

An example of critical is a father who doesn't feel any of the dates his daughter brings home are good enough for her.

adjective
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Judging severely and finding fault.

A writer who is very critical of the government's foreign policy.

adjective
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Of professional or scholarly critics or criticism.
  • Consisting of or incorporating criticism.
    A critical biography of Wordsworth.
  • Characterized by criticism regarded as emphasizing faults and shortcomings.
    A highly critical movie review.
adjective
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Tending to find fault; censorious.
adjective
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Characterized by careful analysis and judgment.

A sound critical estimate of the problem.

adjective
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Designating or of important products or raw materials subject to increased production and restricted distribution under strict control, as in wartime.
adjective
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Designating or of a medical condition in which the patient is at high risk of dying and thus requires special treatment, monitoring, nursing care, etc.
adjective
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Relating to a medical crisis.
adjective
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Being or relating to a grave physical condition especially of a patient.
adjective
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Relating to the value of a measurement, such as temperature, at which an abrupt change in a chemical of physical quality, property, or state occurs.
adjective
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Essential for continued operations. In risk analysis, one classifies data by the degree of sensitivity and criticality. See sensitive and risk assessment.
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Pertaining to, or indicating, a crisis or turning point.

This is a critical moment.

adjective
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A critical value, factor, etc.
noun
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Capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction.

The reactor has gone critical.

adjective
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Inclined to find fault or criticize; fastidious; captious; censorious; exacting.

A good teacher is fair but critical.

adjective
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Extremely important.

It's critical that you deliver this on time.

adjective
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Relating to criticism or careful analysis, such as literary or film criticism.

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

adjective
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(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.

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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.

adjective
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Of the point (in temperature, reagent concentration etc.) where a nuclear or chemical reaction becomes self-sustaining.

The reaction was about to become critical.

adjective
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Of the crisis of a disease.
adjective
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1
Extremely important or essential.

A critical element of the plan; a second income that is critical to the family's well-being.

adjective
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Of or relating to a point at which a curve has a horizontal tangent line, as at a maximum or minimum.
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Dangerous or risky; causing anxiety.

A critical situation in international relations.

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Origin of critical

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

    From Wiktionary