noun cri·te·ri·on \krī-ˈtir-ē-ən also krə-\

: something that is used as a reason for making a judgment or decision

plural -ria \-ē-ə\ also cri·te·ri·ons

Full Definition of CRITERION

:  a standard on which a judgment or decision may be based
:  a characterizing mark or trait

Usage Discussion of CRITERION

The plural criteria has been used as a singular for over half a century <let me now return to the third criteria — R. M. Nixon> <that really is the criteria — Bert Lance>. Many of our examples, like the two foregoing, are taken from speech. But singular criteria is not uncommon in edited prose, and its use both in speech and writing seems to be increasing. Only time will tell whether it will reach the unquestioned acceptability of agenda.

Examples of CRITERION

  1. What were the criteria used to choose the winner?
  2. <one criterion for grading these essays will be their conformity to the rules of traditional grammar>
  3. There is really only one criterion for a grab bag of culinary facts and anecdotes like this: It has to make you look up occasionally and remark, Hey! I never knew that. —Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review, 25 Dec. 1994


Greek kritērion, from krinein to judge, decide — more at certain
First Known Use: 1622


Next Word in the Dictionary: criteriumPrevious Word in the Dictionary: criteriologyAll Words Near: criterion
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