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(See also FAULTFINDING.

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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

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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:

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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!”

Picturesque
Expressions: A
Thematic
Dictionary, 1st
Edition. © 1980
The Gale Group,
Inc. All rights
reserved.
ThesaurusLegend:
Words Antonyms

Synonyms Related


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Nou 1 criticism - disapproval expressed by pointing
n
. out faults or shortcomings; "the senator
received severe criticism
from his opponent"
unfavorable judgment
attack - strong criticism;
"he published an
unexpected attack on my
work"
disapproval - the
expression of disapproval
brickbat - blunt criticism
carping, faultfinding - persistent petty and
unjustified 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, repr
oval - 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"
critique
critical analysis, critical appraisal - an
appraisal based on careful analytical
evaluation
examen - a critical study (as of a writer's
work)
knock, roast - negative criticism
self-criticism - criticism of yourself
3 criticism - a written evaluation of a work of
. literature
literary criticism
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

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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
critical review, critique, review
article, review - an essay or article that gives a
critical evaluation (as of a book or play)

Based on WordNet
3.0, Farlex clipart
collection. © 20032008 Princeton
University, Farlex
Inc.

criticism

noun

1. fault-finding, censure, disapproval, disparagement, s
tick (slang), knocking (informal), panning (informal),
slamming (slang), slating (informal), flak (informal),sl
agging (slang), strictures, bad
press, denigration, brickbats (informal), character
assassination, sideswipe, critical
remarks, animadversion The policy had repeatedly
come under strong criticism.

2. analysis, review, notice, assessment, judgment, com
mentary, evaluation, appreciation, appraisal, critique, e
lucidation Her work includes novels, poetry and
literary criticism.

Collins Thesaurus
of the English
Language –
Complete and
Unabridged 2nd
Edition. 2002 ©
HarperCollins
Publishers 1995,
2002
Translations
Select a language:

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criticism →

Multilingual
Translator ©
HarperCollins
Publishers 2009
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