- a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.
Origin of criterion
1605–15; < Greek kritḗrion a standard, equivalent to kri- variant stem of krī́nein to separate, decide + -tērion neuter suffix of means (akin to Latin -tōrium -tory2)
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
measure, touchstone, yardstick. See standard.
Like some other nouns borrowed from the Greek, criterion has both a Greek plural, criteria, and a plural formed on the English pattern, criterions. The plural in -a occurs with far greater frequency than does the -s plural: These are the criteria for the selection of candidates. Although criteria is sometimes used as a singular, most often in speech and only infrequently in edited prose, in standard English, it is more clearly used as a plural with criterion as the singular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a standard by which something can be judged or decided
- philosophy a defining characteristic of something
C17: from Greek kritērion from kritēs judge, from krinein to decide
Criteria, the plural of criterion, is not acceptable as a singular noun: this criterion is not valid; these criteria are not valid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for criterial
1660s, from Latinized form of Greek kriterion "means for judging, standard," from krites "judge," from PIE root *krei- (see crisis). Used in English as a Greek word from 1610s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper