Entries linking to crit
c. 1600, "action of criticizing, discrimination or discussion of merit, character or quality; a critical remark or disquisition," from critic + -ism. Meaning "art of judging of and defining the qualities or merits of a thing," especially "estimating literary or artistic worth" is from 1670s. Meaning "inquiry into the history and authenticity of a text" (the sense in higher criticism) is from 1660s.
In the first place, I must take leave to tell them that they wholly mistake the Nature of Criticism who think its business is principally to find fault. Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant a Standard of judging well. The chiefest part of which is, to observe those Excellencies which should delight a reasonable Reader. [Dryden, preface to "State of Innocence," 1677]
1580s, "censorious, inclined to find fault," from critic + -al (1). Sense of "important or essential for determining" is from c. 1600, originally in medicine. Meaning "of the nature of a crisis, in a condition of extreme doubt or danger" is from 1660s; that of "involving judgment as to the truth or merit of something" is from 1640s; that of "having the knowledge, ability, or discernment to pass judgment" is from 1640s. Meaning "pertaining to criticism" is from 1741.
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.
updated on May 18, 2018