[ krahy-teer-ee-uhn ]
/ kraɪˈtɪər i ən /

noun, plural cri·te·ri·a [krahy-teer-ee-uh] /kraɪˈtɪər i ə/, cri·te·ri·ons.

a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

Nearby words

  1. cristophe,
  2. cristóbal,
  3. crit,
  4. crit.,
  5. criteria,
  6. crithidia,
  7. critic,
  8. critical,
  9. critical angle,
  10. critical apparatus

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)

Related formscri·te·ri·al, adjective

Can be confusedcriteria criterion (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for criteria

British Dictionary definitions for criteria


/ (kraɪˈtɪərɪən) /

noun plural -ria (-rɪə) or -rions

a standard by which something can be judged or decided
philosophy a defining characteristic of something

Word Origin for criterion

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 criteria
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper