- 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 for criterion 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
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