AskDefine | Define critic

Dictionary Definition



1 a person who is professionally engaged in the analysis and interpretation of works of art
2 anyone who expresses a reasoned judgment of something
3 someone who frequently finds fault or makes harsh and unfair judgments

User Contributed Dictionary



From criticus, from Ancient Greek κριτικός (kritikos) "of or for judging, able to discern" < κρίσις "crisis"



  1. A person who appraises on the works of others
  2. A specialist in judging works of art
  3. One who criticizes; a person who finds fault
  4. An opponent


person who appraises on the works of others
specialist in judging works of art
one who criticizes; a person who finds fault

Extensive Definition

The word critic comes from the Greek , - one who discerns, which itself arises from the Ancient Greek word , , meaning a person who offers reasoned judgment or analysis, value judgment, interpretation, or observation. The term can be used to describe an adherent of a position disagreeing with or opposing the object of criticism.
Modern critics include professionals or amateurs who regularly judge or interpret performances or other works (such as those of artists, scientists, musicians, or actors), and typically publish their observations, often in periodicals. Critics are numerous in certain fields, including art, music, film, theatre or drama, restaurant, and scientific publication critics.


Criticism in terms of expectations means democratic judgment over the suitability of a subject for the intended purposes, as opposed to the authoritarian command, which is meant as an absolute realization of the authority's will, thus not open for debate.
Criticism is the activity of judgement or informed interpretation and, in many cases, can be synonymous with "analysis." In literary and academic contexts, the term most frequently refers to literary criticism, art criticism, or other such fields, and to scholars' attempts to understand the aesthetic object in depth. In these contexts the term "critic," used without qualification, most frequently refers to a scholar of literature or another art form. In other contexts, the term describes hostility or disagreement with the object of criticism. Sometimes context, and the contentiousness of the subject, are the only differentiating factors between these two approaches. In politics, for instance (as in the phrase "criticism of U.S. foreign policy"), criticism almost exclusively refers to disagreement—while in an academic, artistic, or literary context (as in "criticism of Romantic poetry") it usually refers to the activity of subtle interpretation or analysis.

Constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is a compassionate attitude towards the person qualified for criticism. Having higher experience, gifts, respect, knowledge in specific field and being able to verbally convince at the same time, this person is intending to uplift the other person materially, morally, emotionally or spiritually. For high probability in succeeding his compassionate criticism the critic has to be in some kind of healthy personal relationship with the other one, which is normally a parent to child, friend to friend, teacher to student, spouse to spouse or any kind of recognized authority in specific field. Hence the word constructive is used so that something is created or visible outcome generated rather than the opposite. Participatory learning in pedagogy is based on these principles of constructive criticism. Here the saying applies that example is better than precept.
There can be tension between constructive and useful criticism; for instance, a critic might usefully help an individual artist to recognize what is poor or slapdash in their body of work—but the critic may have to appear harsh and judgmental in order to state this. But useful criticism is a practical part of constructive criticism.

Destructive criticism

Destructive criticism is intended to harm someone, derogate and destroy someone’s creation, prestige, reputation and self-esteem on whatever level it might be. This may be done intentionally or out of sheer ignorance and foolishness. Hence the word destructive is used. In practical life destructive criticism may be disguised as constructive to be more painful while harming. Valid examination of intention of critic is when asked to prove, to help or to be somewhat useful at all. Often destructive criticism comes from persons who are envious, cruel and those who judges in fields which are not their own.
An alternative definition of the difference is "Criticism by me is constructive. Criticism of me is destructive." More usefully, whether criticism is constructive or destructive depends heavily on the use the listener makes of it. "Whether the critic meant to be constructive or destructive in pointing out that "2+2 does not equal 7" is not nearly as important as whether the person addressed corrects his arithmetic. Many of the common definitions of "constructive" and "destructive" border on logical fallacies: here the given definition of "constructive" is very close to argument from authority, and the definition of "destructive" makes it easy to fall into argument ad hominem. Criticism cannot be ignored or accepted based on whether it is constructive or destructive.

Criticism in psychology

Criticism can also be a tool of antisocial behavior, such as a passive-aggressive attack.

External links

critic in Arabic: نقد
critic in Czech: Kritik
critic in Danish: Kritik
critic in German: Kritiker
critic in Spanish: Crítica
critic in Esperanto: Kritikisto
critic in Indonesian: Kritik
critic in Dutch: Kritiek
critic in Japanese: 評論家
critic in Polish: Krytyka
critic in Russian: Критик
critic in Albanian: Kritika
critic in Simple English: Critic
critic in Serbian: Критичар
critic in Finnish: Arvostelu
critic in Swedish: Kritiker
critic in Turkish: Eleştiri
critic in Ukrainian: Критик
critic in Chinese: 評論家

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

advertising writer, aficionado, allegorist, amateur, annalist, annotator, arbiter, arbiter elegantiarum, arbiter of taste, art critic, author, authoress, authority, belittler, belletrist, bibliographer, bon vivant, book reviewer, buff, captious, captious critic, carper, carping, caviler, caviling, censor, censorious, censurer, cicerone, clarifier, coauthor, cognoscente, collaborator, collector, columnist, commentator, commenter, common scold, compiler, complainer, composer, connaisseur, connoisseur, copywriter, creative writer, criticaster, criticizer, critickin, criticule, cryptanalyst, cryptographer, cryptologist, dance critic, decoder, definer, demonstrator, demythologizer, diarist, diaskeuast, dilettante, disparager, dragoman, drama critic, dramatist, editor, editorial writer, editorialist, emendator, emender, encyclopedist, epicure, epicurean, essayist, euhemerist, exegesist, exegete, exegetist, expert, explainer, explicator, exponent, expositor, expounder, fan, faultfinder, faultfinding, freak, free lance, free-lance writer, frondeur, ghost, ghostwriter, glossarist, glossographer, go-between, good judge, gourmand, gourmet, guide, hermeneut, humorist, hypercritical, inditer, interpreter, judge, knocker, leader writer, lexicographer, literary artist, literary craftsman, literary critic, literary man, litterateur, logographer, magazine writer, man of letters, maven, metaphrast, momus, monographer, muckraker, mudslinger, music critic, news analyst, newspaperman, nitpicker, novelettist, novelist, nut, oneirocritic, overcritical, pamphleteer, paraphrast, penwoman, pettifogger, poet, prose writer, publicist, pundit, quibbler, refined palate, reviewer, savant, scenario writer, scenarist, scholar, scholiast, scold, scribe, scriptwriter, short-story writer, smellfungus, social critic, specialist, storyteller, technical expert, technical writer, technician, textual critic, translator, virtuoso, word painter, wordsmith, writer
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