AskDefine | Define criticism

Dictionary Definition



1 disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings; "the senator received severe criticism from his opponent" [syn: unfavorable judgment]
2 a serious examination and judgment of something; "constructive criticism is always appreciated" [syn: critique]
3 a written evaluation of a work of literature [syn: literary criticism]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of criticising; a critical judgment passed or expressed; a critical observation or detailed examination and review; a critique; animadversion; censure.

Related terms



Extensive Definition

The word critic comes from the Greek , - one who discerns, which itself arises from the Ancient Greek word , , meaning a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis, value judgment, interpretation, or observation. The term can be used to describe an adherent of a position disagreeing with or opposing the object of criticism.
Modern critics include professionals or amateurs who regularly judge or interpret performances or other works (such as those of artists, scientists, musicians, or actors), and typically publish their observations, often in periodicals. Critics are numerous in certain fields, including art, music, film, theatre or drama, restaurant, and scientific publication critics.


Criticism in terms of expectations means democratic judgment over the suitability of a subject for the intended purposes, as opposed to the authoritarian command, which is meant as an absolute realization of the authority's will, thus not open for debate.
Criticism is the activity of judgement or informed interpretation and, in many cases, can be synonymous with "analysis." In literary and academic contexts, the term most frequently refers to literary criticism, art criticism, or other such fields, and to scholars' attempts to understand the aesthetic object in depth. In these contexts the term "critic," used without qualification, most frequently refers to a scholar of literature or another art form. In other contexts, the term describes hostility or disagreement with the object of criticism. Sometimes context, and the contentiousness of the subject, are the only differentiating factors between these two approaches. In politics, for instance (as in the phrase "criticism of U.S. foreign policy"), criticism almost exclusively refers to disagreement—while in an academic, artistic, or literary context (as in "criticism of Romantic poetry") it usually refers to the activity of subtle interpretation or analysis.

Constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is a compassionate attitude towards the person qualified for criticism. Having higher experience, gifts, respect, knowledge in specific field and being able to verbally convince at the same time, this person is intending to uplift the other person materially, morally, emotionally or spiritually. For high probability in succeeding his compassionate criticism the critic has to be in some kind of healthy personal relationship with the other one, which is normally a parent to child, friend to friend, teacher to student, spouse to spouse or any kind of recognized authority in specific field. Hence the word constructive is used so that something is created or visible outcome generated rather than the opposite. Participatory learning in pedagogy is based on these principles of constructive criticism. Here the saying applies that example is better than precept.
There can be tension between constructive and useful criticism; for instance, a critic might usefully help an individual artist to recognize what is poor or slapdash in their body of work—but the critic may have to appear harsh and judgmental in order to state this. But useful criticism is a practical part of constructive criticism.

Destructive criticism

Destructive criticism is intended to harm someone, derogate and destroy someone’s creation, prestige, reputation and self-esteem on whatever level it might be. This may be done intentionally or out of sheer ignorance and foolishness. Hence the word destructive is used. In practical life destructive criticism may be disguised as constructive to be more painful while harming. Valid examination of intention of critic is when asked to prove, to help or to be somewhat useful at all. Often destructive criticism comes from persons who are envious, cruel and those who judges in fields which are not their own.
An alternative definition of the difference is "Criticism by me is constructive. Criticism of me is destructive." More usefully, whether criticism is constructive or destructive depends heavily on the use the listener makes of it. "Whether the critic meant to be constructive or destructive in pointing out that "2+2 does not equal 7" is not nearly as important as whether the person addressed corrects his arithmetic. Many of the common definitions of "constructive" and "destructive" border on logical fallacies: here the given definition of "constructive" is very close to argument from authority, and the definition of "destructive" makes it easy to fall into argument ad hominem. Criticism cannot be ignored or accepted based on whether it is constructive or destructive.

Criticism in psychology

Criticism can also be a tool of antisocial behavior, such as a passive-aggressive attack.

External links

criticism in Arabic: نقد
criticism in Czech: Kritik
criticism in Danish: Kritik
criticism in German: Kritiker
criticism in Spanish: Crítica
criticism in Esperanto: Kritikisto
criticism in Indonesian: Kritik
criticism in Dutch: Kritiek
criticism in Japanese: 評論家
criticism in Polish: Krytyka
criticism in Russian: Критик
criticism in Albanian: Kritika
criticism in Simple English: Critic
criticism in Serbian: Критичар
criticism in Finnish: Arvostelu
criticism in Swedish: Kritiker
criticism in Turkish: Eleştiri
criticism in Ukrainian: Критик
criticism in Chinese: 評論家

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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