A critic is someone who finds fault with something and expresses an unfavorable opinion. You might be a critic of your school’s new plan to start the school day at 6:30 a.m.

The word critic came into English by way of Latin, tracing back to the Greek word krinein, meaning “judge, decide.” If you’re a critic, you’re essentially judging something — and finding it lacking. Critic can be used broadly to describe any person expressing an unfavorable view, but there are professional critics as well, such as people who review movies or music. In that sense, the word describes someone who thoughtfully assesses something, either favorably or negatively.

Primary Meanings of critic

a person who is professionally engaged in the analysis and interpretation of works of art
someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments
Full Definitions of critic

n a person who is professionally engaged in the analysis and interpretation of works of art

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Harley Granville-Barker
English actor and dramatist and critic and director noted for his productions of Shakespearean plays (1877-1946)
John Orley Allen Tate
United States poet and critic (1899-1979)
Matthew Arnold
English poet and literary critic (1822-1888)
Van Wyck Brooks
United States literary critic and historian (1886-1963)
John Anthony Ciardi
United States poet and critic (1916-1986)
Jacques Derrida
French philosopher and critic (born in Algeria); exponent of deconstructionism (1930-2004)
Roger Eliot Fry
English painter and art critic (1866-1934)
Herman Northrop Frye
Canadian literary critic interested in the use of myth and symbolism (1912-1991)
William Hazlitt
English essayist and literary critic (1778-1830)
Henry Louis Mencken
United States journalist and literary critic (1880-1956)
Ivor Armstrong Richards
English literary critic who collaborated with C. K. Ogden and contributed to the development of Basic English (1893-1979)
John Ruskin
British art critic (1819-1900)
Sir Stephen Harold Spender
English poet and critic (1909-1995)
Joseph Deems Taylor
United States composer and music critic (1885-1966)
Lionel Trilling
United States literary critic (1905-1975)
Carl Clinton Van Doren
United States writer and literary critic (1885-1950)
Edmund Wilson
United States literary critic (1895-1972)
Alexander Woollcott
United States drama critic and journalist (1887-1943)
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art critic
a critic of paintings
drama critic, theater critic
a critic of theatrical performances
literary critic
a critic of literature
music critic
a critic of musical performances
newspaper critic
a critic who writes a column for the newspapers
Type of:
professional, professional person
a person engaged in one of the learned professions

n anyone who expresses a reasoned judgment of something

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appraiser, authenticator
one who determines authenticity (as of works of art) or who guarantees validity
a judge who assigns grades to something
panelist, panellist
a member of a panel
reader, referee, reviewer
someone who reads manuscripts and judges their suitability for publication
sampler, taste tester, taste-tester, taster
someone who samples food or drink for its quality
juror, juryman, jurywoman
someone who serves (or waits to be called to serve) on a jury
someone who scans verse to determine the number and prosodic value of the syllables
wine taster
a taster who evaluates the quality of wines
wool stapler, woolsorter
a person who sorts wool into different grades
Type of:
evaluator, judge
an authority who is able to estimate worth or quality

n someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments

carper, niggler
someone who constantly criticizes in a petty way
someone who makes small and unjustified criticisms
a harsh or humorous critic (sometimes intended as a facetious compliment)
Type of:
disagreeable person, unpleasant person
a person who is not pleasant or agreeable

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