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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web In 2007, Hempton reported that only three of those places on his list still fit that criterion. Pete Mcbride, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Last Quiet Places," 18 Sep. 2020 But the first criterion will prove easy for most films to satisfy. Kyle Buchanan New York Times, Star Tribune, "Oscars introduce sweeping new diversity standards," 13 Sep. 2020 Almost three-quarters of the directors appointed last year had served on boards in the past, a hiring criterion that Heidrick found to limit opportunities for minority candidates, who often lack such experience. Jeff Green,, "Zillow, United and Others Commit to Add Black Directors," 9 Sep. 2020 To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below: D1. Lauren Huff,, "Oscars unveil new representation and inclusion standards for Best Picture eligibility," 9 Sep. 2020 To achieve Standard D, the film must meet the criterion below: D1. Li Cohen, CBS News, "The Oscars announce new representation and inclusion requirements for Best Picture eligibility," 9 Sep. 2020 Sound quality was the most important criterion in our testing. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "The best on-ear headphones of 2020," 2 Sep. 2020 For example, medical students at the University of Washington successfully lobbied for race to be removed as a criterion for determining kidney function—a process that took many years. Tiffany L. Green, Scientific American, "The Problem with Implicit Bias Training," 28 Aug. 2020 On each of these platforms, users—of which teens and young adults make up the core consumer—bewitch and ensnare, able to create short-form content of the most compelling sort, all within a tight criterion. Jason Parham, Wired, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wields Brevity as a Superpower," 19 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for criterion

Time Traveler

The first known use of criterion was in 1622

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Statistics for criterion

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Criterion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for criterion


How to pronounce criterion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of criterion

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

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