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.

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)

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. 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.

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