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

v find fault with; express criticism of; point out real or perceived flaws

“The paper criticized the new movie”
criticise, knock, pick apart
express approval of
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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, scold, take to task, trounce
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 with 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

v act as a critic

“Those who criticize others often are not perfect, either”
Type of:
discharge one's duties

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