criterion

noun
cri·​te·​ri·​on | \ krī-ˈtir-ē-ən How to pronounce criterion (audio) also krə- \
plural criteria\ krī-​ˈtir-​ē-​ə How to pronounce criterion (audio) also  krə-​ \ also criterions

Definition of criterion

1 : a standard on which a judgment or decision may be based the university's criteria for admission
2 : a characterizing mark or trait

Choose the Right Synonym for criterion

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority. standards of behavior criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not. questioned the critic's criteria for excellence gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (such as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect. polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality. housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible. fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant

Is criteria singular or plural?: Usage Guide

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.

Did you know?

One person's principal criterion for a new car may be its gas mileage, while someone else's may be whether it has room for four children. When filling a job opening, employers usually look for several criteria (notice the plural form) in the applicants; and when college admissions officers are reading student applications, they likewise always keep a few basic criteria in mind. And when interviewing an applicant, one criterion for both the employer and the admissions officer might include the size of the applicant's vocabulary!

Examples of criterion in a Sentence

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 … the induction committee waived its normal five-year retirement criteria for fear Kelley might never retire. — Todd Balf, Yankee, 4 Apr. 1992 Christo argues that art must be measured by its effect on the shape of a community. By this criterion Running Fence was enormously successful. — O. B. Hardison, Jr., Disappearing Through the Skylight, 1989 What were the criteria used to choose the winner? one criterion for grading these essays will be their conformity to the rules of traditional grammar
Recent Examples on the Web Another critical criterion is toxicity, which the N.C. State study did not test for. Lou Dzierzak, Scientific American, 25 July 2022 The governor's executive order does not mention vaccination status as a criterion for admitting patients. Tara Subramaniam, CNN, 14 Nov. 2021 At the Century Association in New York City, a major criterion for membership is being a good conversationalist. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, 14 July 2022 If the Terps receive a top-eight national seed — the team entered Sunday ranked No. 9 in the rating percentage index, an important tournament criterion — a regional win would secure hosting duties in the super-regional round. Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun, 30 May 2022 Durability was a third criterion, driven largely by material and construction. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 18 Apr. 2022 Balance Between Personal And Professional Values Alignment to purpose and values has been important, but now is more of a criterion for career moves. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 Given declining undergraduate enrollment, the pool of candidates who fit that specific criterion is only shrinking. Gautam Tambay, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Researchers at Grand Canyon University found last year that educational attainment is the most important dating criterion for Millennials, exceeding earning potential, physical attributes, and political and religious affiliations. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 10 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'criterion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of criterion

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for criterion

borrowed from Greek kritḗrion, from kri-, variant stem of krī́nein "to separate, choose, decide, judge" + -tērion, suffix of instruments — more at certain entry 1

Learn More About criterion

Time Traveler for criterion

Time Traveler

The first known use of criterion was in 1622

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near criterion

criteriology

criterion

criterium

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for criterion

Last Updated

18 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Criterion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criterion. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on criterion

Nglish: Translation of criterion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of criterion for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!