Critical Thinking Definition Websters

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See also argumentation; ideas; learning; logic; opinion; philosophy; questioning; understanding.


the process of separating a whole into its parts to discover their function, relationship, etc. See also logic; psychology.


loss or absence of the capacity to express thoughts or ideas by written, spoken, or gesticulated means.


1. the act of meditation or contemplation.
2. the faculty of thinking.
3. a thought; a design or plan. — cogitator, n.cogitative, adj.


relating to the operation of the mind through logical rather than intuitive thought processes; intellectual activity.


the capacity for, process of, or result of discursive thinking. — dianoetic, adj.


the act of digressing; wandering off the subject.


the process of deducing or inferring. — eductive, adj.


1. the state of having wandering and imaginative thoughts in order to escape from reality. — escapist, n., adj.
2. the practice of engaging in activities that enable one to avoid having to deal with reality, as the persistent attendance at science-fiction films, reading of fantasy literature, etc.


1. excessive concern for facts.
2. a theory or belief relying heavily on fact. — factualist, n.factualistic, adj.

free association

Psychoanalysis. the unhampered and uncensored expression of ideas, impressions, etc., passing through the mind of the patiënt, used to permit access to the processes of the unconscious.

hyponoia, hyponea

a state of dulled mental activity or decrease in the function of thought. Also called hypopsychosis.




the process of forming ideas. — ideational, adj.


the process of inferring or deducing; also, that which is inferred or deduced. — illative, adj.


things or matters beyond measure or comprehension.


the process of searching or inquiring; an investigation, especially of an intellectual nature. — indagator, n.indagative, adj.


the state of being narrow-minded.


1. the exercise or use of the intellect.
2. a particular act or process of the intellect.


1. understanding solely through the intellect.
2. thinking. — noetic, adj.


the science of the laws of the mind. — nomologist, n.nomological, adj.


the process of darkening or obscuring so as to hinder ready analysis.


a system of mental development exercises.


Obsolete, consideration; careful thought over a matter.


1. the rational inquiry into the principles and truths of being, nature, knowledge, conduct, etc.
2. an individual set or system of principles and beliefs. — philosopher, n. — philosophic, philosophical, adj.


a mania for thinking.


an abnormal fear of thinking.


a state of doubt or uncertainty, especially with regard to the choice of alternatives; a dilemma.


the process of logical reasoning or rational thought. — ratiocinative, adj.


the conversion of an abstract concept into something concrete; a viewing of the abstract as concrete.


the act of pondering or meditating. — ruminator, n.ruminative, adj.


1. the contemplation or consideration of some subject.
2. an instance of such activity.
3. a conclusion or opinion reached by such activity.
4. a conjecture or surmise; a guess. — speculator, n. — speculative, adj.


the excessive use of speculation.


the process of deductive reasoning, as from cause to effect, from the simple elements to the complex whole, etc. See also joining. — synthesist, n.synthetic, synthetical, adj.


the principles or practice of synthesis or synthetic methods or techniques.


abnormally rapid mental activity.


Rare. the art of reasoning; logic.

  • On the stage in Davos, Weizenbaum pleaded the case for critical thinking.

    —jacob silverman, The New Republic, "The generational shift that made tech companies a cultural and political force,"28 Feb. 2018

  • The banning assault weapons and arming teachers have become critical questions in the days after the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, in which 17 people were killed and 16 others were injured.

    —anthony man,, "Poll finds Florida voters want assault-weapons ban, don’t want teachers armed,"28 Feb. 2018

  • The interview process and medical evaluations play a critical role.

    —herbie teope,, "Should tight end be on Saints' radar at 2018 NFL Scouting Combine?,"27 Feb. 2018

  • The annual luncheon was created in an effort to break the stigma associated with mental illness, a critical issue affecting one in four adults.

    —sergio carmona, Jewish Journal, "Ricki Lake gives emotional presentation at Reflections of Hope luncheon,"23 Feb. 2018

  • Director Lila Neugebauer, whose recent staging of The Wolves garnered critical raves, has assembled a first-rate cast.

    —frank scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo': Theater Review,"22 Feb. 2018

  • Hill became a lightning rod of criticism for those on the Right because of her critical stance on Donald Trump.

    —, "Yes, Jemele Hill Still Thinks Donald Trump Is A Racist,"22 Feb. 2018

  • That will play a critical role in strong bank profits.

    —The Economist, "American banks pay depositors less than online accounts,"15 Feb. 2018

  • Bloomberg's Scarlet Fu and Eric Balchunas are joined by leaders in this market, providing critical intelligence to financial advisers and investors of ETFs.

    —Bloomberg, "Bloomberg ETF-IQ - Full Show - 02/14/18,"15 Feb. 2018


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