What does critical mass mean?

Definitions for critical mass
crit·i·cal mass

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word critical mass.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. critical massnoun

    the minimum amount (of something) required to start or maintain a venture

    "the battle for the computer market has now reached critical mass"; "there is now a critical mass of successful women to take the lead"; "they sold the business because it lacked critical mass"

  2. critical massnoun

    the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a chain reaction


  1. critical massnoun

    the amount of fissile material that is needed to support a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction

  2. critical massnoun

    A quantity or amount required to trigger a phenomenon.

  3. Critical Massnoun

    A direct action event in which bicycle riders travel through city streets as a group.


  1. Critical mass

    In nuclear engineering, a critical mass is the smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction. The critical mass of a fissionable material depends upon its nuclear properties (specifically, its nuclear fission cross-section), density, shape, enrichment, purity, temperature, and surroundings. The concept is important in nuclear weapon design.


  1. critical mass

    Critical mass refers to the minimum amount or quantity required to cause a significant effect, start a process, or make something self-sustaining. In physics, it refers to the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. Similarly, in the context of social dynamics, it could refer to the proportion of adopters of an idea or behavior necessary for mass adoption or substantial change.


  1. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month in over 300 cities around the world. The ride was originally founded in 1992 in San Francisco. The purpose of Critical Mass is not usually formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city or town streets on bikes. Some bigger scale events as in Budapest, Hungary, have an activist group formed around it, organizing the rides and communicating the desires and problems of the cyclists to the city council. Critical Mass rides have been perceived as protest. A 2006 New Yorker magazine article described Critical Mass' activity in New York City as "monthly political-protest rides", and characterized Critical Mass as a part of a social movement; and the UK e-zine Urban75, which advertises as well as publishes photographs of the Critical Mass event in London, describes this as "the monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets of London." Critical Mass participants have insisted that these events should be viewed as "celebrations" and spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized demonstrations. This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police.

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. critical mass

    In physics, the minimum amount of fissionable material required to sustain a chain reaction. Of a software product, describes a condition of the software such that fixing one bug introduces one plus epsilon bugs. (This malady has many causes: creeping featurism, ports to too many disparate environments, poor initial design, etc.) When software achieves critical mass, it can never be fixed; it can only be discarded and rewritten.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. critical mass

    The minimum amount of fissionable material capable of supporting a chain reaction under precisely specified conditions.

Suggested Resources

  1. critical mass

    Song lyrics by critical mass -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by critical mass on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. critical mass

    Read the full text of the Critical Mass poem by Robert Strong on the Poetry.com website.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce critical mass?

How to say critical mass in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of critical mass in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of critical mass in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of critical mass in a Sentence

  1. George Will:

    When SiSi of Egypt, head of the most important nation in the world for the Islamic world… gives an extraordinary speech saying this is a disgrace what's being done and there must be a reformation in Islam, it is just possible we've reached a critical mass of horror and things are going to change.

  2. Turkey Activist Baris Sulu:

    If you fight for your own rights, you will be crushed. But when minorities come together, we form a critical mass, i may not win, but the most important thing is we're now talking about LGBT rights.

  3. Lucas Hinch of Colorado Springs:

    It was extremely frustrating, i reached critical mass.

  4. Grzegorz Zawada:

    Once we reach a critical mass, somebody will be the first mover and I think it will change the whole co-location thing.

  5. Chris Wheeler:

    If they are making better use of their capital it's got to be a good thing. But for anybody who believes in critical mass and the importance of scale then it's a bad thing, especially when you start to withdraw from the biggest market in the world.

Translations for critical mass

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"critical mass." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/critical+mass>.

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    a signal that temporarily stops the execution of a program so that another procedure can be carried out
    • A. doom
    • B. acclaim
    • C. disturb
    • D. interrupt

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