General English

  • noun a person who examines something and comments on it, especially a person who writes comments on new plays and films for a newspaper
  • noun a person who says that something is bad or wrong

Information & Library Science

  • noun a person who writes reviews or gives opinions about books, films, music and art

Media Studies

  • noun a person, especially a journalist, who expresses opinions about the quality of literary works, drama productions, art exhibitions and society as a whole


  • noun somebody who examines something and comments on it, especially somebody who writes comments on new plays, films or restaurants for a newspaper

Origin & History of “critic”

Critic and crisis both come ultimately from the Greek verb krī́nein ‘decide’ (a relative of Latin cernere ‘decide’, which produced English certain, crime, decree, discern, discrete, discriminate, excrement, riddle ‘sieve’, secret, and secretary). The Greek derived noun krísis ‘judgment’ was used by the physicians Hippocrates and Galen for the ‘turning point of a disease’. It passed as a medical term via Latin crisis into English in the 15th century, where it was not used in the more general modern sense until the 17th century. The Greek derived noun kritḗs ‘judge’ produced in turn kritikós ‘able to make judgments’; this came to be used as a noun, ‘one who makes judgments’, which passed via Latin criticus into English. Another descendant of kritḗs was Greek kritḗrion ‘standard for making a judgment’, borrowed directly into English in the 17th century as criterion.