American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Physics The temperature and pressure at which the liquid and gaseous phases of a pure stable substance become identical. Also called critical state.
- n. Mathematics A maximum, minimum, or point of inflection of a curve.
- n. Mathematics A point at which the derivative of a function is zero, infinite, or undefined.
- n. thermodynamics The temperature and pressure at which the vapour density of the gas and liquid phases of a fluid are equal, at which point there is no difference between gas and liquid.
- n. mathematics A maximum, minimum or point of inflection on a curve; a point at which the derivative of a function is zero or undefined.
- n. A juncture at which time a critical decision must be made.
GNU Webster's 1913
- (Physics) That combination of volume and pressure, at the critical temperature of the substance, at which the liquid and gaseous phases of a given quantity of a substance have identical values for their densities and other properties.
- n. a crisis situation or point in time when a critical decision must be made
“Windler, was preparing for the spacecraft to reach the critical point in its trajectory where the astronauts could insert their spacecraft into humankind’s first lunar orbit.”
“To drive home the critical point that the foundation of life is a congeries of ultrasophisticated molecular machinery gathered inside the nanobots called cells—and to give some background for showing what Darwinian evolution can and can’t do in the realm of the nanobots—in this appendix I’ll recount some highlights from the history of biology and take a look at how some work gets done in a real nanobot.”
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