cri·te·ri·on | \krī-ˈtir-ē-ən also krə- \
plural criteria\krī-ˈtir-ē-ə also krə- \ also criterions

Definition of criterion 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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: Noun

Among other criteria, data must show that outcomes improve if treatment begins before symptoms appear. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "U.S. Health secretary under pressure to approve screening of newborns for fatal genetic disease," 28 June 2018 For now, the fee is fixed and the feature is only available to channels with over 100,000 subscribers that fit other criteria as well. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "YouTube Will Help Creators Make Money With More Than Just Ads," 21 June 2018 The new model should lower costs and serve as a template for other employers, but interviewers set few other criteria for the enterprise, the people said. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Gawande to Head Health Venture of Berkshire, Amazon, JPMorgan," 20 June 2018 The frequency of inspection depends on how well a facility has previously performed and other criteria that the agency does not specify. Washington Post,, "USDA may warn some facilities when animal welfare inspectors are coming," 17 May 2018 Under the program, dreamers can apply for renewable two-year permits to live and work temporarily in the U.S. in exchange for registering with the government and meeting other criteria. Daniel González, azcentral, "Arizona 'dreamers' praise effort by House Republicans to force vote on DACA legislation," 9 May 2018 The sites were ranked based on ease of booking and payment, ease of navigation, site performance and other criteria. The Washington Post,, "Airline customer satisfaction is higher than you might think, a survey indicates," 7 May 2018 Eligible companies need to show a drop in employment and in sales or production and other trade criteria. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "A look at commercial fishing fatalities," 6 May 2018 Tying a supplemental income system to the existing tax code or to a worker’s existing is another option, although experts say a universal payment system would be simpler to administer than one that phases out based on earnings or other criteria. NBC News, "Finland's experiment with giving away money shines a light on the idea of universal basic income," 29 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for criterion

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for criterion

The first known use of criterion was in 1622

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English Language Learners Definition of criterion

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

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