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criterion

[krahy-teer-ee-uhn]
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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 for criterion

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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

Related Words for criterion

touchstone, benchmark, principle, yardstick, precedent, norm, proof, foundation, scale, basis, pattern, original, canon, rule, standard, prototype, exemplar, measure, opinion, model

Examples from the Web for criterion

Contemporary Examples of criterion

Historical Examples of criterion

  • And the criterion which he proposes is difference in the working of the faculties.

  • Why, because he distinguishes the face of a friend and of an enemy only by the criterion of knowing and not knowing.

  • These will be the criterion of the comparative claims of pleasure and wisdom.

  • Art and morality agree in rejecting pleasure as the criterion of good.

    Laws

    Plato

  • Education the criterion of the right of suffrage, not property.


British Dictionary definitions for criterion

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 for criterion

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 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