- the state of being critical
- the condition in a nuclear reactor when the fissionable material can sustain a chain reaction by itself
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- inclined to find fault or to judge severely:remarks far too critical of the queen.
- of or relating to critics or criticism:[before a noun]a critical edition of Chaucer.
- very careful;
involving or requiring skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.:[before a noun]Critical readers will find much of interest.
- of decisive importance;
crucial:a critical moment in American politics.
- of great or necessary importance;
indispensable: A critical ingredient in the bomb is the primer that sets off the larger explosive.
- caused by or constituting a crisis: a critical shortage of food.
- Medicine(of a patient's condition) having unstable and abnormal heartbeat, blood pressure, etc.:The gunshot victim is listed in critical condition.
- inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
- occupied with or skilled in criticism.
- involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.;
judicial:a critical analysis.
- of or pertaining to critics or criticism:critical essays.
- providing textual variants, proposed emendations, etc.:a critical edition of Chaucer.
- pertaining to or of the nature of a crisis:a critical shortage of food.
- of decisive importance with respect to the outcome;
crucial:a critical moment.
- of essential importance;
indispensable:a critical ingredient.
- Medicine(of a patient's condition) having unstable and abnormal vital signs and other unfavorable indicators, as loss of appetite, poor mobility, or unconsciousness.
- pertaining to a state, value, or quantity at which one or more properties of a substance or system undergo a change.
- (of fissionable material) having enough mass to sustain a chain reaction.
crit′i•cal′i•ty, crit′i•cal•ness, n.
- critic + -al1 1580–90
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged captious, censorious, carping, faultfinding, caviling.
- 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged discriminating, exact, precise.