Meaning of “critical” in the English Dictionary

"critical" in English

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uk /ˈkrɪt.ɪ.kəl/ us /ˈkrɪt̬.ɪ.kəl/

critical adjective (NOT PLEASED)

B2 saying that someone or something is bad or wrong:

a critical report
The report is highly critical of safety standards at the factory.

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critical adjective (GIVING OPINIONS)

C2 giving opinions or judgments on books, plays, films, etc.:

She has written a major critical appraisal/study of Saul Bellow's novels.
His last film won/received critical acclaim (= was praised by film critics).

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(Definition of “critical” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"critical" in American English

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us /ˈkrɪt̬·ɪ·kəl/

critical adjective (IMPORTANT)

of the greatest importance:

critical industries
What happens in the next 48 hours is critical.

critical adjective (VERY BAD)

very bad or dangerous:

He was admitted to Metropolitan Hospital in critical condition.

critical adjective (JUDGING ENTERTAINMENT)

showing approval by those whose job is to judge entertainment:

The movie was a financial and critical success.

critical adjective (DISAPPROVING PERSON)

expressing an opinion about something or someone, esp. a negative opinion:

My mother is always so critical of the way I dress!

(Definition of “critical” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"critical" in Business English

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uk /ˈkrɪtɪkəl/ us

extremely important to the progress or success of something:

critical to/for sth Logistics and distribution are critical to an e-commerce venture's success.
Critical decisions need to be taken.
We see this as a critical time and potentially a turning point in the crisis.

extremely serious or dangerous:

be in critical condition As a result of unchecked pollution, the Chesapeake Bay is in critical condition.
The company had a loss of $511,000 and a critical shortage of cash.

saying that someone or something is bad or wrong:

A highly critical report was released Tuesday on BP's five U.S. refineries.
critical of sb/sth He is very critical of his manager.

using careful judgment:

We need to do some critical thinking to solve this problem.

The small business market as a whole is critically important.
Regional or bilateral trade deals need to be looked at more critically.

(Definition of “critical” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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Timing is critical in this.
The more unstable the situation in a region of such critical geographical importance, the greater the impact will be on our interests.
I am very critical of the way in which the process relating to the proposal for a decision on the retention of electronic communication services data has been handled.
A fast response is of critical importance.
I would like to make one critical comment, and that is that the environmental advantages of rail compared to road transport are dwindling fast.
If it can always be seen who has obtained what, fraud will be revealed by journalists and a critical public - perfectly free of charge and with far greater preventative effect.
The setting up of these new lines requires critical mass and it could be one or two years before these resources are available.
Incidentally, it is all very well for people to be critical - for stylistic reasons among others - of the fact that we have a whole host of detailed regulations.
Instead of focusing all criticism on therapeutic cloning and voluntary euthanasia, it would have been more natural for these parties to be more critical on this of all points.
I am pleased to see that businesses recognise that consumer confidence is critical to the growth of this small-business e-commerce network.