[ krahy-teer-ee-uh ]
/ kraɪˈtɪər i ə /
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a plural ofcriterion.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does criteria mean?

Criteria is the plural of criterion—a standard or principle for judging, evaluating, or selecting something. Criteria are the ideals or requirements on which a judgment, evaluation, or selection is based.

The plural of criterion can also be criterions, but this is rarely used.

Criteria are often the particular requirements that someone or something must meet in order to be considered or qualify for something. An applicant for a job may be evaluated based on several criteria, including their education, experience, and references—each one of these standards is a criterion. Your grade in a class may be based on certain criteria, such as your test scores, your grades on homework and other assignments, and your participation in class. Similarly, a gymnast’s score is based on several criteria involving how well they performed certain moves.

The word criteria is often used with the word meet, as in Your entry meets all of our criteria for inclusion in the exhibit. 

Sometimes, people try to use criteria as a singular noun (like how data is sometimes used), but this is generally considered not the right way to use it.

Example: We assess the candidates based on several criteria, and one criterion is that they must have at least five years of experience in a similar position.

Where does criteria come from?

The first records of the words criterion and criteria come from the 1600s. Criterion comes from the Greek kritḗrion, meaning “a standard,” from kritēs, “judge,” from krinein, “to decide.” The word critic and related words like critical and criticism are based on the same root.

The word criteria is always used in the context of some kind of decision, judgment, or evaluation. But it’s not only used in official or formal situations. For example, when shopping for a new TV, you may have several criteria for selecting one that include things like how big it is and how much it costs.

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What are some other forms related to criteria?

  • criterion (singular)
  • criterions (alternate and rarely used plural)
  • criterial (adjective)

What are some synonyms for criteria?

What are some words that share a root or word element with criteria

What are some words that often get used in discussing criteria?

How is criteria used in real life?

Criteria is typically used in situations in which things are being judged or evaluated in some way.



Try using criteria!

Is criteria used correctly in the following sentence?

What’s your criteria for choosing a roommate?

How to use criteria in a sentence