To criticize is to find what's wrong with something, like the improbabilities in a movie's plot line, or double standards in your father's rules.

The verb criticize comes from the noun, critic, and means "to act like a critic." A critic is someone who judges, and that doesn't have to mean negative judgment (think of a glowing movie review from a movie critic), but when we use criticize we always mean finding what's wrong, instead of what's good, with something. If your friend is just learning to bake, don't criticize his first batch of burned cookies too harshly; he'll just give up.

Definitions of criticize
  1. verb
    find fault with; express criticism of; point out real or perceived flaws
    “The paper criticized the new movie”
    synonyms: criticise, knock, pick apart
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    express approval of
    show 32 types...
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    censure, criminate, reprimand
    rebuke formally
    blast, crucify, pillory, savage
    criticize harshly or violently
    admonish, reprove
    take to task
    bawl out, berate, call down, call on the carpet, chew out, chew up, chide, dress down, have words, jaw, lambast, lambaste, lecture, rag, rebuke, remonstrate, reprimand, reproof, scathe, scold, take to task, trounce, vituperate
    censure severely or angrily
    express strong disapproval of
    express strong disapproval of
    belabor, belabour
    attack verbally with harsh criticism
    come down
    criticize or reprimand harshly
    speak out against
    blame, find fault, pick
    harass with constant criticism
    belittle, disparage, pick at
    express a negative opinion of
    be overly critical; criticize minor details
    assail, assault, attack, lash out, round, snipe
    attack in speech or writing
    harsh on
    criticize harshly
    castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, objurgate
    censure severely
    brush down, tell off
    express blame or censure or make a harshly critical remark
    fulminate, rail
    criticize severely
    abuse, blackguard, clapperclaw, shout
    use foul or abusive language towards
    attack as if with claws
    pan, tear apart, trash
    express a totally negative opinion of
    discredit, disgrace
    damage the reputation of
    deprecate, depreciate, vilipend
    subject to bitter verbal abuse
    criticize or abuse strongly and violently
    attack forcefully
    barrage, bombard
    address continuously or persistently, as if with a barrage
    blister, scald, whip
    subject to harsh criticism
    condemn, decry, excoriate, objurgate, reprobate
    express strong disapproval of
    belittle, denigrate, derogate, minimize
    cause to seem less serious; play down
    accurse, anathematise, anathematize, anathemise, anathemize, comminate, execrate
    curse or declare to be evil or anathema or threaten with divine punishment
    attack strongly
    type of:
    comment, notice, point out, remark
    make or write a comment on
  2. verb
    act as a critic
    “Those who criticize others often are not perfect, either”
    synonyms: criticise
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    type of:
    discharge one's duties
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