critical

The adjective critical has several meanings, among them, "vital," "verging on emergency," "tending to point out errors," and "careful."

If you're an emergency-room doctor with a patient in critical condition (on the highest alert), it's absolutely critical (vital or essential) that you be critical (careful and judicious) in your approach to their care, so that at the critical (decisive) moment, you can save their life. You must also be critical (that is, you must point out all the errors and flaws) of the jobs your colleagues are doing.

Definitions of critical
  1. adjective
    of or involving or characteristic of critics or criticism
    critical acclaim”
  2. adjective
    characterized by careful evaluation and judgment
    “a critical reading”
    “a critical dissertation”
    “a critical analysis of Melville's writings”
    Synonyms:
    appraising, evaluative
    exercising or involving careful evaluations
    discriminative, judicial
    expressing careful judgment
    discerning
    having or revealing keen insight and good judgment
    scholarly
    characteristic of scholars or scholarship
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    noncritical, uncritical
    marked by disregard for critical standards or procedures
    unscholarly
    not scholarly
    show more antonyms...
  3. adjective
    marked by a tendency to find and call attention to errors and flaws
    “a critical attitude”
    Synonyms:
    captious, faultfinding
    tending to find and call attention to faults
    censorious
    harshly critical or expressing censure
    deprecative
    given to expressing disapproval
    hypercritical, overcritical
    inclined to judge too severely
    searing
    severely critical
    scathing, vituperative
    marked by harshly abusive criticism
    unfavorable, unfavourable
    not encouraging or approving or pleasing
    sarcastic
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    uncritical
    not critical; not tending to find or call attention to errors
  4. adjective
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    “a critical element of the plan”
    critical medical supplies”
    synonyms: vital
    indispensable
    not to be dispensed with; essential
  5. adjective
    forming or having the nature of a turning point or crisis
    “a critical point in the campaign”
    “the critical test”
    synonyms: decisive
    crucial, important
    of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
  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”
    Synonyms:
    acute
    of critical importance and consequence
    dangerous, grave, grievous, life-threatening, serious, severe
    causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm
    desperate, dire
    fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless
    crucial, important
    of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    noncritical, noncrucial
    not in a state of crisis or emergency
    acritical
    without a crisis (as of some diseases)
    show more antonyms...
  7. adjective
    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 of water is 100 degrees C--its boiling point at standard atmospheric pressure”
    critical mass”
    “go critical
    Synonyms:
    supercritical
    (especially of fissionable material) able to sustain a chain reaction in such a manner that the rate of reaction increases
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    noncritical
    not critical; not at a point of abrupt change
Word Family