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 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 The first county seat, the town of Buckner, did not meet the criterion of being within 3 miles of the center of the county. Hannah Evans, Dallas News, "McKinney, Texas: What laid the tracks for its success and why it considered being the ‘Sucker Capitol’," 25 June 2020 Non-journalists can employ the tipping-point criterion just as easily. Whitney Phillips, Wired, "How to Avoid Spreading Misinformation About the Protests," 4 June 2020 But the more serious problem may have been that fever of over 100 degrees was used as the one overriding criterion to determine whether a sick inmate required medical attention. Tim Golden, ProPublica, "Inside the U.S.’s Largest Maximum-Security Prison, COVID-19 Raged. Outside, Officials Called Their Fight a Success.," 24 June 2020 Originally, the Legislature approved rules prohibiting federal-aid recipients from getting state small-business aid, and Forrer contends that only the Legislature can change that criterion. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Juneau attorney asks court to pause Alaska’s small-business pandemic aid program," 23 June 2020 Leadership experience may not have been the criterion that led Trump to select Weida. Walter M. Shaub Jr., The New York Review of Books, "Ransacking the Republic," 17 June 2020 The center compiled the 15 biggest improvements and declines in the U.S. economy's overall performance — which are determined by the biggest percentage changes of each criterion on the list, from one year to the next. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "U.S. plummets to 10th spot in World Competitiveness Ranking," 16 June 2020 Still, Colvin does name one possible sorting criterion that could come into play, almost by default: seniority. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "When everyone can work from home, who goes back to the office?," 6 June 2020 Based on the tipping-point criterion, refusing to respond may be the most harmful response. Whitney Phillips, Wired, "How to Avoid Spreading Misinformation About the Protests," 4 June 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

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Criterion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criterion. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for criterion

criterion

noun
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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