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criterion

[krahy-teer-ee-uh n]
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noun, plural cri·te·ri·a [krahy-teer-ee-uh] /kraɪˈtɪər i ə/, cri·te·ri·ons.
  1. a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.
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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)

Synonyms

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measure, touchstone, yardstick. See standard.

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for criteria

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There are three criteria of goodness—beauty, symmetry, truth.

  • It concerns in part the criteria of valuation in the field of the social life.

  • The grounds for rejecting the criteria of the Roman law have been shown above.

    The Common Law

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • These, it is said, are the criteria of progress; all else is misleading.

  • The main technique is study and constant reexamination of criteria.

    The Armed Forces Officer

    U. S. Department of Defense


British Dictionary definitions for criteria

criterion

noun plural -ria (-rɪə) or -rions
  1. a standard by which something can be judged or decided
  2. philosophy a defining characteristic of something
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Word Origin

C17: from Greek kritērion from kritēs judge, from krinein to decide

usage

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

n.

1620s, plural of criterion (q.v.).

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criterion

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper