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crit•i•cism(ˈkrɪt əˌsɪz əm)
See Also: CRITICISM, LITERARY AND DRAMATIC
- (They were) as critical as a fan-club —William McIlvanney
- Blaming X [one group of an industry] for the decline of business is like blaming the iceberg for the demise of the Titanic —Bill Soutar, Publisher’s Weekly, 1985
Soutar was speaking specifically about poor business in his field of soft cover book distribution.
- Criticism is like champagne: nothing more execrable if bad, nothing more excellent if good —Charles Caleb Colton
- Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots —Frank A. Clark, Reader’s Digest, September, 1971
- Criticizing, like charity, should begin at home —B. C. Forbes
- Impersonal criticism is like an impersonal fist fight, or an impersonal marriage, and as successful —George Jean Nathan
- Like people rummaging in boxes for a knife, everyone searched deep in his memory for a grievance —Marguerite Yourcenar
- Long harangue [of complaints] … it was like a three-hour movie with no intermission —Elizabeth Spencer
See Also: SLOWNESS
- Muttering thin complaints like little children called from play —James Crumley
- Rattling off her woes like mea culpas —Rita Mae Brown
- Safe from criticsm as a stutter or a squint —Henry James
- (Mothers) scolded in voices like amplified hens —Rumer Godden
See Also: VOICES, HARSH
- Shot grievances like beads across an abacus —Cynthia Ozick
- Sounded like a cranky old man who needs a stray Airedale to kick —New York Times editorial criticizing New York Mayor Edward Koch for his remark about the Soviet government’s arrest of an American journalist, September 17, 1986
- Squeaking like little pigs coming out of the barn door —Congressman Dale Lotta (Ohio), April 9, 1987
(See also FAULTFINDING.)
blue-pencil To delete or excise, alter or abridge; to mark for correction or improvement. Used of written matter exclusively, blue-pencil derives from the blue pencil used by many editors to make manuscript changes and comments.
damn with faint praise To praise in such restrained or indifferent terms as to render the praise worthless; to condemn by using words which, at best, express mediocrity. Its first use was probably by Alexander Pope in his 1735 Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot:
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer.
peanut gallery See INSIGNIFICANCE.
pot shot A random, offhand criticism or condemnation; a censorious remark shot from the hip, lacking forethought and direction. Webster’s Third cites C. H. Page’s reference to
subjects which require serious discussion, not verbal potshots.
Pot shot originally referred to the indiscriminate, haphazard nature of shots taken at game with the simple intention of providing a meal, i.e., filling the pot. By transference, the term acquired the sense of a shot taken at a defenseless person or thing at close range from an advantageous position.
slings and arrows Barbed attacks, stinging criticism; any suffering or affliction, usually intentionally directed or inflicted. The words come from the famous soliloquy in which Hamlet contemplates suicide:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. (III, i)
As commonly used, the expression often retains the suffer of the original phrase, but usually completes the thought by substituting another object for outrageous fortune, as in the following:
En route to the United States the enterprise has suffered the slings and arrows of detractors as diverse as George Meany and Joseph Papp. (Roland Gelatt, in Saturday Review, February, 1979)
stop-watch critic A hidebound formalist, whose focus is so riveted on traditional criteria or irrelevant minutiae that he fails to attend to or even see the true and total object of his concern. Laurence Sterne gave us the term in Tristram Shandy.
“And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night?” “Oh, against all the rule, my lord, most ungrammatically. Betwixt the substantive and the adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach, thus—stopping as if the point wanted settling; and betwixt the nominative case, which, your lordship knows, should govern the verb, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds and three-fifths by a stop-watch, my lord, each time.”
“Admirable grammarian! But in suspending his voice was the sense suspended likewise? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Was the eye silent? Did you narrowly look?” “I looked only at the stop-watch, my lord.” “Excellent observer!”
|Noun||1.||criticism - disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings; "the senator received severe criticism from his opponent"|
attack - strong criticism; "he published an unexpected attack on my work"
disapproval - the expression of disapproval
brickbat - blunt criticism
flack, flak, attack, blast, fire - intense adverse criticism; "Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party"; "the government has come under attack"; "don't give me any flak"
thrust - verbal criticism; "he enlivened his editorials with barbed thrusts at politicians"
potshot - criticism aimed at an easy target and made without careful consideration; "reporters took potshots at the mayor"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to take the rebuke with a smile on his face"
slating - a severely critical attack; "the reviewers gave his book a sound slating"
static - angry criticism; "they will probably give you a lot of static about your editorial"
stricture - severe criticism
|2.||criticism - a serious examination and judgment of something; "constructive criticism is always appreciated"|
examen - a critical study (as of a writer's work)
self-criticism - criticism of yourself
|3.||criticism - a written evaluation of a work of literature|
piece of writing, written material, writing - the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect); "the writing in her novels is excellent"; "that editorial was a fine piece of writing"
explication de texte - a method of literary criticism that analyzes details of a text in order to reveal its structure and meaning
textual criticism - comparison of a particular text with related materials in order to establish authenticity
new criticism - literary criticism based on close analysis of the text
analysis - a form of literary criticism in which the structure of a piece of writing is analyzed