American English

Definition of critical adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    jump to other results
    expressing disapproval
  1. 1expressing disapproval of someone or something and saying what you think is bad about them a critical comment/report The supervisor is always very critical. critical of somebody/something Tom's parents were highly critical of the school.
  2. important
  3. 2extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it synonym crucial a critical factor in the election campaign Reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is of critical importance. Your decision is critical to our future. Thesaurusessentialvital crucial critical decisive indispensableThese words all describe someone or something that is extremely important and completely necessary because a particular situation or activity depends on them.essential extremely important and completely necessary, because without it something cannot exist, be made, or be successful:Experience is essential for this job.vital essential:The police play a vital role in our society.essential or vital?These words have the same meaning but there can be a slight difference in tone. Essential is used to state a fact or an opinion with authority. Vital is often used when there is some anxiety felt about something, or a need to persuade someone that a fact or an opinion is true, right, or important. Vital is less often used in negative statements:It was vital to show that he was not afraid. Money is not vital to happiness.crucial extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it:It is crucial that we get this right.critical extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it:Your decision is critical to our future.crucial or critical?These words have the same meaning but there can be a slight difference in context. Critical is often used in technical matters of business or science;crucial is often used to talk about matters that may cause anxiety or other emotions.decisive of the greatest importance in affecting the final result of a particular situation:She played a decisive role in the peace negotiations.indispensable essential; too important to be without:This database has become an indispensable resource in our research.Patterns essential/vital/crucial/critical/decisive/indispensable for something essential/vital/crucial/critical/indispensable to something essential/vital/crucial/critical that… essential/vital/crucial/critical to do something a(n) essential/vital/crucial/critical/decisive/indispensable part/role/factor of vital/crucial/critical/decisive >importance> absolutely essential/vital/crucial/critical/decisive/indispensable
  4. serious/dangerous
  5. 3serious, uncertain, and possibly dangerous The first 24 hours after the operation are the most critical. a critical moment in our country's history One of the victims of the fire remains in critical condition. see also crisis
  6. making careful judgments
  7. 4involving making fair, careful judgments about the good and bad qualities of someone or something Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking instead of accepting opinions without questioning them.
  8. of art/music/books, etc.
  9. 5[only before noun] according to the judgment of critics of art, music, literature, etc. the film director's greatest critical success In her day, she never received the critical acclaim (= praise from the critics ) she deserved.
adverb She spoke critically of her father. He is critically ill in intensive care. I looked at myself critically in the mirror.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: critical