Criticism is the practice of judging the merits and faults of something or someone in an intelligible (or articulate) way.

  • The judger is called "the critic".
  • To engage in criticism is "to criticize".
  • One specific item of criticism is called "a criticism" or a "critique".

This article provides information only about basic kinds of criticism, which are used generally by almost everybody at one time or another (for more specific types or areas of criticism, see the list at the bottom of this page, the (incomplete) category list for "criticism", Varieties of criticism and the criticism of (disambiguation) page).

Criticism can be:

  • directed toward a person or an animal; at a group, authority or organization; at a specific behaviour; or at an object of some kind (an idea, a relationship, a condition, a process, or a thing).
  • personal (delivered directly from one person to another, in a personal capacity), or impersonal (expressing the view of an organization, and not aimed at anyone personally).
  • highly specific and detailed, or very abstract and general.
  • verbal (expressed in language) or non-verbal (expressed symbolically, or expressed through an action or a way of behaving).
  • explicit (the criticism is clearly stated) or implicit (a criticism is implied by what is being said, but it is not stated openly).
  • the result of critical thinking or spontaneous impulse.

To criticize does not necessarily imply "to find fault", but the word is often taken to mean the simple expression of an objection against prejudice, or a disapproval. Often criticism involves active disagreement, but it may only mean "taking sides". It could just be an exploration of the different sides of an issue. Fighting is not necessarily involved.

Criticism is often presented as something unpleasant, but it need not be. It could be friendly criticism, amicably discussed, and some people find great pleasure in criticism ("keeping people sharp", "providing the critical edge"). The Pulitzer Prize for Criticism has been presented since 1970 to a newspaper writer who has demonstrated 'distinguished criticism'.

Another meaning of criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature, artwork, film, and social trends (see the article links below). The goal of this type of criticism is to understand the possible meanings of cultural phenomena, and the context in which they take shape. In so doing, the attempt is often made to evaluate how cultural productions relate to other cultural productions, and what their place is within a particular genre, or a particular cultural tradition.

Criticism as an evaluative or corrective exercise can occur in any area of human life. Criticism can therefore take many different forms. How exactly people go about criticizing, can vary a great deal. In specific areas of human endeavour, the form of criticism can be highly specialized and technical; it often requires professional knowledge to understand the criticism.

Read more about Criticism:  Etymology, Classification of Types of Criticisms, Varieties of Criticism, Criticisms, The Psychology of Criticism, What Is The Point of Criticism?

Other articles related to "criticism":

Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism - Overview
... The object of psychoanalytic literary criticism, at its very simplest, can be the psychoanalysis of the author or of a particularly interesting character in a ... In this directly therapeutic form, the criticism is very similar to psychoanalysis itself, closely following the analytic interpretive process ... However, more complex variations of psychoanalytic criticism are possible ...
Yuri Knorozov - Critical Reactions To His Work
... Knorozov and his thesis came under some severe and at times dismissive criticism ... Knorozov persisted with his publications in spite of the criticism and rejection of many Mayanists of the time ... since his position and standing at the institute was not adversely influenced by criticism from Western academics ...
Yoot Tower - Criticism
... The game was dismissed by some game review websites and magazines as being too much a rehash of the original SimTower ... Many wrote the game off as being basically identical to its predecessor ...
Joseph Justus Scaliger - Academic Output
... It was during this period of his life that he composed and published his books of historical criticism ... He was the first to lay down and apply sound rules of criticism and emendation, and to change textual criticism from a series of haphazard guesses into a "rational procedure subject to fixed laws" (Mark ... Instead, they valued his emendatory criticism and his skill in Greek ...
TSR, Inc. - Criticism
... The company was the subject of an urban myth stating that it tried to trademark the term "Nazi" ... This was based on a supplement for the Indiana Jones RPG, in which some figures were marked with "NaziTM" ...

Famous quotes containing the word criticism:

    The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art—and, by analogy, our own experience—more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.
    Susan Sontag (b. 1933)

    A friend of mine spoke of books that are dedicated like this: “To my wife, by whose helpful criticism ...” and so on. He said the dedication should really read: “To my wife. If it had not been for her continual criticism and persistent nagging doubt as to my ability, this book would have appeared in Harper’s instead of The Hardware Age.”
    Brenda Ueland (1891–1985)

    It is ... pathetic to observe the complete lack of imagination on the part of certain employers and men and women of the upper-income levels, equally devoid of experience, equally glib with their criticism ... directed against workers, labor leaders, and other villains and personal devils who are the objects of their dart-throwing. Who doesn’t know the wealthy woman who fulminates against the “idle” workers who just won’t get out and hunt jobs?
    Mary Barnett Gilson (1877–?)