Top 42 Slang For Criticism – Meaning & Usage

In a world where social media platforms have become the breeding ground for opinions and judgments, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest slang for criticism. Whether you want to express your disapproval or simply want to understand the subtle nuances of online critique, we’ve got you covered. Our team has scoured the internet to compile a list of the most cutting-edge and commonly used phrases for criticism. Get ready to dive into this listicle and enhance your vocabulary for the world of online discourse.

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1. Diss

To diss someone is to insult or disrespect them in a clever or cutting way. It is often used in a playful or joking manner, but can also be used seriously.

  • For example, “She totally dissed him in front of everyone at the party.”
  • In a rap battle, one artist might diss their opponent by rapping, “Your rhymes are weak, you’re nothing but a wannabe.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t take it personally, he’s just dissing everyone for fun.”

2. Shade

To throw shade at someone is to subtly criticize or insult them, often with sarcastic or passive-aggressive remarks.

  • For instance, “She’s always throwing shade at her coworkers, making snide comments about their work.”
  • In a reality TV show, one contestant might throw shade at another by saying, “I thought her outfit was… interesting.”
  • A person might say, “She’s the queen of shade, always finding a way to make a cutting remark.”

3. Call out

To call someone out is to publicly criticize or confront them about their actions or behavior, often with the intention of holding them accountable.

  • For example, “She called out her friend for spreading rumors about her.”
  • In a social media post, someone might call out a company for their unethical practices by saying, “Hey @XYZCompany, your products may be cheap, but your labor practices are unacceptable.”
  • A person might say, “I’m not afraid to call out injustice when I see it.”

4. Tear apart

To tear something or someone apart is to critically analyze or dismantle them, often with the intention of finding flaws or weaknesses.

  • For instance, “The movie critics tore apart the latest blockbuster for its weak plot and one-dimensional characters.”
  • In a debate, one person might tear apart their opponent’s argument by pointing out logical fallacies and inconsistencies.
  • A person might say, “I love to tear apart a book and analyze its themes and symbolism.”

5. Nitpick

To nitpick is to find fault in small or insignificant details, often in a way that is overly critical or pedantic.

  • For example, “He always nitpicks about grammar errors in my emails.”
  • In a group project, one person might nitpick about the formatting of a presentation, even though the content is solid.
  • A person might say, “I hate when people nitpick about trivial things instead of focusing on the bigger picture.”

6. Bash

To bash someone means to harshly criticize or attack them verbally. It is often used when someone is being unfairly or excessively critical.

  • For example, “The critics really bashed the new movie, calling it a complete disaster.”
  • In a political debate, one candidate might bash their opponent’s policies, saying they are ineffective and harmful.
  • A person might say, “Don’t bash her for making a mistake. We all make them sometimes.”

7. Knock

To knock someone or something means to criticize or find fault with them. It is a more informal term for criticism and can be used in various contexts.

  • For instance, “I don’t want to knock his efforts, but he could have done a better job.”
  • In a review of a restaurant, one might say, “While the food was good, I have to knock them for the slow service.”
  • A person might comment, “I don’t want to knock your idea, but I think it needs some more work.”

8. Censure

To censure someone means to express strong disapproval or criticism towards them. It often implies an official or formal reprimand.

  • For example, “The board of directors censured the CEO for his unethical behavior.”
  • In a political context, a government might censure a politician for their actions or statements.
  • A person might say, “I censure you for your disrespectful comments.”

9. Berate

To berate someone means to scold or criticize them angrily. It implies a more intense and aggressive form of criticism.

  • For instance, “The coach berated the player for their poor performance.”
  • In a personal argument, one might say, “She berated him for forgetting their anniversary.”
  • A person might comment, “It’s not fair for you to berate me like that. I made a mistake, but it doesn’t justify your anger.”

10. Chastise

To chastise someone means to rebuke or reprimand them for their actions or behavior. It often implies a sense of discipline or correction.

  • For example, “The teacher chastised the student for cheating on the test.”
  • In a parenting context, a parent might chastise their child for misbehaving.
  • A person might say, “I don’t need you to chastise me. I’m aware of my mistake and will learn from it.”

11. Rebuke

To rebuke someone is to express strong disapproval or criticism towards them. It often involves scolding or reprimanding someone for their actions or behavior.

  • For example, a teacher might rebuke a student for not completing their homework by saying, “I am very disappointed in your lack of effort.”
  • In a professional setting, a manager might rebuke an employee for making a costly mistake by saying, “Your negligence has caused significant financial loss for the company.”
  • A parent might rebuke their child for misbehaving by saying, “I expect better behavior from you, young lady.”

12. Pan

To pan something is to criticize it harshly or dismissively. This term is often used in the context of reviewing or evaluating something, such as a movie, book, or performance.

  • For instance, a film critic might pan a new movie by saying, “The plot was predictable, the acting was subpar, and the dialogue was cliché.”
  • A music reviewer might pan an album by saying, “The songs lack originality and the production quality is poor.”
  • In a conversation about a restaurant, someone might pan the food by saying, “The dishes were tasteless and overpriced.”

13. Flay

To flay someone is to criticize them severely or harshly. This term implies a strong and intense criticism that leaves the person feeling exposed or attacked.

  • For example, a theater critic might flay a performance by saying, “The actors lacked depth and the direction was uninspired.”
  • In a political debate, one candidate might flay their opponent’s policies by saying, “Your proposed solutions are unrealistic and will only lead to further problems.”
  • A book reviewer might flay a novel by saying, “The writing is amateurish and the plot is completely implausible.”

14. Skewer

To skewer someone is to mock or criticize them harshly, often with the intention of exposing their flaws or weaknesses in a humorous or biting way.

  • For instance, a comedian might skewer a celebrity during a stand-up routine by impersonating them and making fun of their mannerisms or behavior.
  • In a political satire show, the host might skewer politicians by using exaggerated impersonations and witty remarks.
  • A writer might skewer a public figure in a satirical article by pointing out their hypocrisy or incompetence.
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15. Hammer

To hammer someone is to criticize them relentlessly or persistently. This term suggests a continuous and forceful criticism that does not let up.

  • For example, a sports commentator might hammer a player for consistently making mistakes on the field by saying, “He has been a liability to the team and needs to step up his game.”
  • In a heated debate, one person might hammer their opponent’s argument by pointing out logical fallacies and inconsistencies.
  • A film reviewer might hammer a director for consistently making poorly executed movies by saying, “His films are filled with clichés and lack any originality.”

16. Pummel

When someone pummels another person, they are delivering a barrage of criticism or negative comments. This term implies a forceful and relentless assault on someone’s ideas or actions.

  • For example, a reviewer might write, “The film was pummeled by critics for its weak plot and poor acting.”
  • In a heated debate, one person might say, “He pummeled me with insults and personal attacks.”
  • A sports commentator might say, “The team was pummeled by the opposing side’s relentless offense.”

17. Blast

When someone blasts another person, they are expressing strong disapproval or condemnation. This term implies a forceful and explosive critique.

  • For instance, a journalist might write, “The politician was blasted by his opponents for his controversial remarks.”
  • In a review of a restaurant, someone might say, “I have to blast this place for its terrible service and overpriced food.”
  • A music critic might declare, “The new album was blasted by fans for its lack of originality and uninspired lyrics.”

18. Slam dunk

When someone slams dunk another person, they are delivering a criticism that is so strong and convincing that it cannot be disputed. This term is often used when someone delivers a particularly effective critique.

  • For example, a judge might say, “The prosecutor presented evidence that was a slam dunk against the defendant.”
  • In a debate, one person might say, “Her argument was a slam dunk. She completely destroyed her opponent’s position.”
  • A movie critic might write, “The film’s powerful message and compelling performances make it a slam dunk for the best picture of the year.”

19. Takedown

When someone performs a takedown, they are criticizing or refuting someone’s argument or position in a definitive and compelling way. This term is often used when someone successfully dismantles an opposing viewpoint.

  • For instance, a debater might say, “I completely takedown my opponent’s argument with solid evidence and logical reasoning.”
  • In a blog post, someone might write, “I’m going to takedown this popular myth about climate change with scientific facts.”
  • A political commentator might say, “The candidate’s speech was a takedown of his opponent’s policies and track record.”

20. Rant

When someone goes on a rant, they are expressing their criticism or complaints in a loud and angry manner. This term suggests a passionate and often lengthy diatribe against something or someone.

  • For example, a customer might say, “I went on a rant about the terrible service at that restaurant.”
  • In a social media post, someone might write, “I need to rant about the horrible customer service I received from this company.”
  • A film reviewer might say, “The movie’s poor writing and lackluster performances had me going on a rant about wasted potential.”

21. Trash talk

Trash talk refers to negative or insulting comments made about someone or something. It is often used in a competitive or confrontational context.

  • For example, during a sports game, a player might engage in trash talk to intimidate their opponent.
  • In a heated argument, someone might resort to trash talk to belittle the other person.
  • A group of friends jokingly trash talking each other might say, “Your skills are so bad, you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn!”

22. Cut down

To cut down means to criticize or belittle someone or something. It implies a negative judgment or disapproval.

  • For instance, a movie critic might cut down a film for its poor acting and predictable plot.
  • In a discussion about a controversial topic, someone might cut down an opposing viewpoint by pointing out its flaws.
  • A teacher might cut down a student’s work by giving it a low grade and providing constructive criticism.
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23. Lay into

To lay into someone means to strongly criticize or reprimand them. It implies a forceful and direct approach to expressing disapproval.

  • For example, a boss might lay into an employee for repeatedly missing deadlines.
  • In a political debate, a candidate might lay into their opponent’s policies and track record.
  • A parent might lay into their child for breaking the rules and not taking responsibility.

24. Pick apart

To pick apart means to analyze and criticize something in great detail, often by dissecting its various components or aspects.

  • For instance, a literary critic might pick apart a novel’s plot, character development, and writing style.
  • In a product review, someone might pick apart the design, functionality, and durability of a new gadget.
  • A teacher might pick apart a student’s essay by pointing out grammar mistakes, weak arguments, and lack of evidence.

25. Rake over the coals

To rake over the coals means to revisit and criticize past actions or mistakes, often in a harsh or unforgiving manner.

  • For example, during a performance review, a supervisor might rake over the coals of an employee’s past failures.
  • In a political scandal, the media might rake over the coals of a public figure’s past misconduct.
  • Friends might jokingly rake over the coals of a person’s embarrassing moments at a gathering.

26. Grill

To grill someone means to question or criticize them intensely, often in a confrontational or aggressive manner.

  • For example, a journalist might grill a politician during an interview, asking tough questions and challenging their statements.
  • In a reality TV show, judges might grill a contestant about their performance, pointing out flaws and demanding explanations.
  • A parent might grill their teenager about their whereabouts and activities, wanting to ensure they are responsible and safe.

27. Take to task

To take someone to task means to criticize or reprimand them for something they have done or said.

  • For instance, a boss might take an employee to task for not meeting deadlines or producing quality work.
  • A teacher might take a student to task for disruptive behavior in the classroom, explaining the consequences and expectations.
  • In a relationship, one partner might take the other to task for forgetting important dates or not fulfilling promises.

28. Sledge

To sledge someone means to insult or mock them harshly, often in a playful or teasing manner.

  • For example, friends might sledge each other during a friendly game, making fun of each other’s skills or mistakes.
  • In a comedy roast, comedians sledge the guest of honor, delivering humorous insults and jabs.
  • A sports commentator might sledge a player for making a costly error, highlighting their mistake in a critical and humorous way.

29. Zing

To zing someone means to deliver a quick and witty remark or insult, often catching them off guard.

  • For instance, during a friendly banter, one person might zing the other with a clever comeback or observation.
  • In a comedy show, a comedian might zing an audience member, playfully making fun of their appearance or behavior.
  • A character in a TV show might zing another character with a sarcastic comment, adding humor and tension to the scene.
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30. Pillory

To pillory someone means to publicly criticize or ridicule them, often in a harsh or mocking manner.

  • For example, in a social media discussion, users might pillory a public figure for their controversial statements or actions.
  • A journalist might pillory a company for unethical practices, exposing their wrongdoing to the public.
  • In a political debate, candidates might pillory each other’s policies and decisions, trying to sway public opinion.

31. Upbraid

To upbraid someone is to scold or criticize them harshly, often in a public or confrontational manner.

  • For example, a teacher might upbraid a student for not doing their homework.
  • A boss might upbraid an employee for making a mistake on an important project.
  • During a heated argument, one person might upbraid the other for their actions.

32. Reprimand

To reprimand someone is to formally rebuke or scold them, usually in a professional or authoritative setting.

  • For instance, a supervisor might reprimand an employee for repeatedly being late to work.
  • A teacher might reprimand a student for disruptive behavior in class.
  • A military officer might reprimand a soldier for violating a rule or regulation.

33. Denounce

To denounce something or someone is to publicly criticize or condemn them, often for their actions or beliefs.

  • For example, a politician might denounce a policy they disagree with.
  • Activists might denounce a company for unethical practices.
  • A religious leader might denounce a particular behavior as immoral or sinful.

34. Lambaste

To lambaste someone is to harshly criticize or attack them, often in a verbal or written form.

  • For instance, a film critic might lambaste a movie for its poor acting and plot.
  • A journalist might lambaste a politician for their controversial statements.
  • In a debate, one debater might lambaste their opponent’s arguments as illogical and flawed.

35. Reproach

To reproach someone is to express disapproval or disappointment towards them, often in a subtle or indirect manner.

  • For example, a parent might reproach their child for not doing their chores.
  • A friend might reproach another friend for canceling plans last minute.
  • A teacher might reproach a student for not putting in enough effort on an assignment.

36. Chide

Chide means to scold or reprimand someone, usually in a mild or gentle manner. It often implies disapproval or disappointment in someone’s behavior or actions.

  • For example, a teacher might chide a student for not completing their homework on time.
  • A parent might chide their child for not cleaning up their room.
  • A friend might chide another friend for being late to a meeting.

37. Lecture

Lecture means to give a long and tedious speech or talk, often with a condescending or authoritative tone. It implies a one-sided delivery of information or advice without much room for discussion or interaction.

  • For instance, a professor might lecture their students on a specific topic during a class.
  • A parent might lecture their child about the importance of studying.
  • A boss might lecture their employees about the company’s policies and expectations.

38. Objurgate

Objurgate means to harshly criticize or rebuke someone, often with anger or strong disapproval. It implies a severe and intense form of criticism.

  • For example, a coach might objurgate a player for making a crucial mistake during a game.
  • A supervisor might objurgate an employee for consistently underperforming.
  • A customer might objurgate a service provider for providing poor customer service.

39. Carp

Carp means to continually complain or find fault with something or someone. It suggests a tendency to nitpick or focus on minor issues.

  • For instance, a person might carp about the quality of the food at a restaurant.
  • A coworker might carp about the temperature in the office.
  • A friend might carp about the choices made in a movie or TV show.

40. Shred

Shred means to criticize someone or something harshly and thoroughly. It implies tearing apart the subject of criticism with strong and negative language.

  • For example, a music critic might shred a new album for its lack of originality.
  • A reviewer might shred a movie for its poor acting and plot.
  • A sports commentator might shred a team for their lackluster performance.

41. Chew out

To criticize or scold someone severely and angrily.

  • For example, a boss might chew out an employee for making a mistake on an important project.
  • A parent might chew out their child for breaking a household rule.
  • A teacher might chew out a student for not completing their homework.

42. Slay

To perform exceptionally well or achieve great success.

  • For instance, a singer might slay a performance and receive a standing ovation.
  • A basketball player might slay a game by scoring a career-high number of points.
  • A chef might slay a dish and receive rave reviews from diners.