critic (n.)
1580s, "one who passes judgment," from Middle French critique (14c.), from Latin criticus "a judge, literary critic," from Greek kritikos "able to make judgments," from krinein "to separate, decide" (see crisis). Meaning "one who judges merits of books, plays, etc." is from c.1600. The English word always had overtones of "censurer, faultfinder."
To understand how the artist felt, however, is not criticism; criticism is an investigation of what the work is good for. ... Criticism ... is a serious and public function; it shows the race assimilating the individual, dividing the immortal from the mortal part of a soul. [George Santayana, "The Life of Reason," 1906]



A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ;
[Pope, "An Essay on Criticism," 1709]
critical (adj.)
1580s, "censorious," from critic + -al (1). Meaning "pertaining to criticism" is from 1741; medical sense is from c.1600; meaning "of the nature of a crisis" is from 1640s; that of "crucial" is from 1841, from the "decisive" sense in Latin criticus. Related: Criticality (1756; in the nuclear sense, 1950); critically (1650s, "accurately;" 1815, "in a critical situation"). In nuclear science, critical mass is attested from 1940.
criticise (v.)
chiefly British English spelling of criticize; for suffix, see -ize.
criticism (n.)
c.1600, "action of criticizing," from critic + -ism. Meaning "art of estimating literary worth" is from 1670s.
criticize (v.)
1640s, "to pass judgment on something" (usually unfavorable), from critic + -ize. Meaning "to discuss critically" is from 1660s; that of "to censure" is from 1704. Related: Criticized; criticizing.
critique (n.)
1702, restored French spelling of 17c. critick "art of criticism" (see critic), ultimately from Greek kritike tekhne "the critical art."
critter (n.)
1815, dialectal or humorous pronunciation of creature.
Cro Magnon
1869, from the name of a hill in Dordogne department of France, where in a cave prehistoric human remains were found in 1868.
croak (v.)
early 14c., crouken, imitative or related to Old English cracian (see crack (v.)). Slang meaning "to die" is first recorded 1812, from sound of death rattle. Related: Croaked; croaking.
croak (n.)
1560s, from croak (v.).
croaker (n.)
"prophet of evil," 1630s, agent noun from croak (v.); a reference to the raven (compare Middle English crake "a raven," early 14c., from Old Norse kraka "crow," of imitative origin).
Croat (n.)
from Serbo-Croatian Hrvat "a Croat," from Old Church Slavonic Churvatinu "Croat," literally "mountaineer, highlander," from churva "mountain" (compare Russian khrebet "mountain chain").
Croatia
from Modern Latin Croatia, from Croatian Hrvatska, probably related to Russian khrebet "mountain chain" (see Croat).
crochet (n.)
1840, from French crochet (12c.), diminutive of croc "hook," from Old Norse krokr "hook" (see crook). So called for the hooked needle used.
crochet (v.)
1858, from crochet (n.). Related: Crocheted; crocheting.
crock (n.)
Old English crocc, crocca "pot, vessel," from Proto-Germanic *krogu "pitcher, pot" (cognates: Old Frisian krocha "pot," Old Saxon kruka, Middle Dutch cruke, Dutch kruik, Old High German kruog "pitcher," German Krug, Old Norse krukka "pot"). Perhaps from the same source as Middle Irish crocan "pot," Greek krossos "pitcher," Old Church Slavonic krugla "cup." Used as an image of worthless rubbish since 19c., perhaps from the use of crockery as chamberpots.
crockery (n.)
"earthen vessels collectively," 1719 (in crockery-ware); see crock + -ery.
crocket (n.)
c.1300, "curl of hair," from Anglo-French crocket, from northern French form of French crochet (see crochet). Meaning "ornamental device on a Gothic pediment" is from late 14c.
crocodile (n.)
1560s, restored spelling of Middle English cokedrille, kokedrille (c.1300), from Medieval Latin cocodrillus, from Latin crocodilus, from Greek krokodilos, word applied by Herodotus to the crocodile of the Nile, apparently due to its basking habits, from kroke "pebbles" + drilos "worm." The crocodile tears story was in English from at least c.1400.
crocus (n.)
late 14c., from Latin crocus, from Greek krokos "saffron, crocus," probably of Semitic origin (compare Arabic kurkum), ultimately from Sanskrit kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one. The autumnal crocus (Crocus sativa) was a common source of yellow dye in Roman times, and was perhaps grown in England, where the word existed as Old English croh, but this form of the word was forgotten by the time the plant was re-introduced in Western Europe by the Crusaders.
Croesus
from Latinized form of Greek Kroisis, 6c. B.C.E. king of Lydia in Asia Minor, famously wealthy; hence "rich man" or in other allusions to riches, from late 14c.
croft (n.)
Old English croft "enclosed field, small field," of unknown etymology. Crofter is 1799, originally Scottish.
Crohn's disease
1935, for U.S. pathologist B.B. Crohn (1884-1983), one of the team that wrote the article describing it in 1932.
croissant (n.)
1899, see crescent.
cromlech (n.)
c.1600, from Welsh, from crom, fem. of crwm "crooked, bent, concave" + llech "(flat) stone." Applied in Wales and Cornwall to what in Brittany is a dolmen; a cromlech there is a circle of standing stones.
crone (n.)
late 14c., from Anglo-French carogne, from Old North French carogne, term of abuse for a cantankerous or withered woman, literally "carrion," from Vulgar Latin *caronia (see carrion).
Cronus
from Greek Kronos, youngest of the first generation of Titans, and their leader; of uncertain origin, but probably not related to Khronos, personification of time.
crony (n.)
1660s, Cambridge student slang, probably from Greek khronios "long-lasting," from khronos "time" (see chrono-), and with a sense of "old friend," or "contemporary."
cronyism (n.)
1840, "friendship," from crony + -ism. Meaning "appointment of friends to important positions, regardless of ability" is originally American English, from c.1950.
crook (n.)
early 13c., "hook-shaped instrument or weapon," from Old Norse krokr "hook, corner," cognate with Old High German kracho "hooked tool," of obscure origin but perhaps related to a widespread group of Germanic kr- words meaning "bent, hooked." Meaning "swindler" is American English, 1879, from crooked in figurative sense of "dishonest" (1708). Crook "dishonest trick" was in Middle English.
croon (v.)
c.1400, originally Scottish, from Middle Dutch kronen "to lament, mourn," perhaps imitative. Originally "to bellow like a bull" as well as "to utter a low, murmuring sound" (mid-15c.). Popularized by Robert Burns. Sense evolved to "lament," then to "sing softly and sadly." Related: Crooned; crooning.
crooner (n.)
type of popular singer, 1930, agent noun from croon.
crop (n.)
Old English cropp "bird's craw," also "head or top of a sprout or herb." The common notion is "protuberance." Cognate with Old High German kropf, Old Norse kroppr. Meaning "harvest product" is c.1300, probably through the verbal meaning "cut off the top of a plant" (c.1200).
crop (v.)
"cut off the top of a plant," c.1200, from crop (n.). The general meaning of "to cut off" is mid-15c. Related: Cropped; cropping. Women's fashion crop top is attested from 1984.
croquet (n.)
1858, from Northern French dialect croquet "hockey stick," from Old North French "shepherd's crook," from Old French croc (12c.), from Old Norse krokr "hook" (see crook). Game originated in Brittany, popularized in Ireland c.1830, England c.1850, where it was very popular until 1872.
croquette (n.)
1706, from French croquette (17c.), from croquer "to crunch" (imitative) + diminutive suffix -ette.
cross (n.)
Old English cros (mid-10c.), from Old Irish cros, probably via Scandinavian, from Latin crux (accusative crucem, genitive crucis) "stake, cross" on which criminals were impaled or hanged, hence, figuratively, "torture, trouble, misery;" originally a tall, round pole; possibly of Phoenician origin. Replaced Old English rood. Also from Latin crux are Italian croce, French croix, Spanish and Portuguese cruz, Dutch kruis, German Kreuz.
cross (adj.)
"ill-tempered," 1630s, probably from 16c. sense of "contrary, athwart," especially with reference to winds and sailing ships, from cross (n.). Cross-purposes "contradictory intentions" is from 1660s.
cross (v.)
c.1200, "make the sign of a cross," from cross (n.). Sense of "to go across" is from c.1400; that of "to cancel by drawing lines over" is from mid-15c. Related: Crossed; crossing.
cross-country (adj.)
also cross country, crosscountry; 1767, of roads, from cross (v.) + country, or short for across-country. Of flights, from 1909.
cross-dressing (n.)
also crossdressing, cross dressing, 1911, from cross (adj.) + dressing; a translation of German Transvestismus (see transvestite).
cross-examination (n.)
also cross examination; 1827, "an examination of a witness by the other side, to 'check' the effects of previous questioning," from cross (adj.) + examination. Related: Cross-examine (1660s).
cross-eye
also crosseye, 1770 (implied in cross-eyed), from cross (adj.) + eye.
cross-fire (n.)
also crossfire, 1860, from cross (adj.) + fire (n.).
cross-over (n.)
also crossover, 1795, as a noun, a term in textiles, from cross (v.) + over (adv.). From 1884 in railroading; from 1912 in biology. As a general adjective from 1893; specifically of musicians and genres from 1971.
cross-patch (n.)
"peevish person," usually female, c.1700, from cross (adj.) + patch (n.1) "piece."
cross-pollination (n.)
also cross pollination, 1882, from cross (adj.) + pollination.
cross-reference (n.)
also crossreference, cross reference, 1834, from cross (adj.) + reference (n.). As a verb by 1902.
cross-section (n.)
also cross section, 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is from 1903.
cross-stitch (n.)
1710, from cross (adj.) + stitch (v.). As a verb from 1794.