Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning “to review or discuss critically” since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. But this use of critique is still regarded by many as pretentious jargon, although resistance appears to be weakening. In our 1997 survey, 41 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence As mock inquisitors grill him, top aides take notes and critique the answers with the President afterward. Ten years earlier, 69 percent disapproved of this same sentence. Resistance is still high when a person is critiqued: 60 percent of the Usage Panel rejects its use in the sentence Students are taught how to do a business plan and then are critiqued on it. Thus, it may be preferable to avoid this word as a verb. There is no exact synonym, but in most contexts one can usually substitute go over, review, or analyze. Note, however, that critique is widely accepted as a noun in a neutral context; 86 percent of the Panel approved of its use in the sentence The committee gave the report a thorough critique and found it both informed and intelligent.
Critique is an alteration of an archaic word that referred generally to criticism. Critique itself dates to the early 18th century and originally referred to a piece of writing that criticized a literary or artistic work. The words criticism, critique, and review overlap in meaning. Criticism usually means "the act of criticizing" or a "remark or comment that expresses disapproval," but it can also refer to the activity of making judgments about the qualities of books, movies, etc. (as in "literary criticism"). Critique is a somewhat formal word that typically refers to a careful judgment in which someone gives an opinion about something. Review can refer to an essay analyzing a literary or artistic work, but can also sometimes imply a more casual or personal opinion.