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.

Definitions of critic
  1. noun
    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
  2. noun
    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
  3. noun
    someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments
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    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
Word Family

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