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I have a question about the definition in this dictionary for the noun "criticism":

the act of expressing disapproval of somebody/something and opinions about their faults or bad qualities; a statement showing disapproval

What is the difference between "the act of expressing disapproval" and a "statement showing disapproval"? Is a "statement" an act?

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Those are two separate definitions that are closely related. Perhaps the two definitions will become more clear when used in a sentence.

the act of expressing disapproval of somebody/something and opinions about their faults or bad qualities

Example: "Criticism is a useful tool for inspiring cultural change."

This one describes the concept of criticizing things at large, like the word "physics" can describe the field of study or concept of physics.

a statement showing disapproval

Example: "I don't need your criticism; it's not like you're well-versed on the subject."

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  • Or, "The criticism he received was overwhelming." In this case it is the fact of being criticized rather than the actual statements which hurt. Jul 13 '15 at 4:21
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What I believe the lexicographers are trying to distinguish between is the act of criticizing, which will always involve some form of speech-act (broadly conceived, so that a political cartoon would fall under the rubric, as would "performance art" and any other human activity involving the use of signs and symbols) and a textual or other physical representation of the act.

John Doe's stinging criticism of federal housing policy has politicians ruffled. They do not react well to criticism.

Have you read John Doe's criticism of federal housing policy in the latest Policy Wonk Gazette?

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