criterion

[ 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.

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Origin of criterion

First recorded in 1605–15; from Greek kritḗrion “a standard,” equivalent to kri- variant stem of krī́nein “to separate, decide” + -tērion neuter suffix of means (akin to Latin -tōrium -tory2)

synonym study for criterion

See standard.

usage note for criterion

Like some other nouns borrowed from the Greek, criterion has both a Greek plural, criteria, and a plural formed on the English pattern, criterions. However, the -s plural is rarely used; the plural ending in -a is the usual form: These are the criteria for the selection of candidates. Though criteria is properly a plural noun, it is increasingly used as a singular noun, most often in speech but also occasionally in edited prose: One criteria is that the candidate must be over 18. This use of criteria as a singular noun is generally considered incorrect.

OTHER WORDS FROM criterion

cri·te·ri·al, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH criterion

criteria , criterion (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for criterion

British Dictionary definitions for criterion

criterion
/ (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

usage for criterion

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