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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The criteria for a diagnosis of PTLDS include: Evidence of prior Lyme disease. Rafal Tokarz,, "The Lyme Disease Complication You Don't Know About—But Should," 31 May 2018 Until recently the main criterion for inclusion was a curator’s taste. The Economist, "Spotify kicks off a cultural shift in the music business," 17 May 2018 The criteria for aggravated murder includes the murder of a child or a police officer, torturing a victim before killing him or her, using an explosive, or, like Haugen and Van Brumwell, having been previously convicted of murder. Special To The Oregonian,, "In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning," 5 May 2018 That’s a likely reason why the criteria in the latest study included avoiding smoking altogether. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "A Harvard Study Says 5 Habits Can Help You Live Way Longer. This One Is the Most Important," 30 Apr. 2018 Officials rank the roads using a pavement condition index and also spot-check roadways to see which are in the worst state based on criteria including cracks and the number of vehicles using the road. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Howard County to fund $20 million in road, sidewalk, traffic improvements," 13 July 2018 Recent studies have found differences in how autism is diagnosed based on gender, including a 2012 study by cognitive neuroscientist Francesca Happ of King's College London that found girls were being diagnosed based on different criteria from boys. Saleah Blancaflor /, NBC News, "In 'The Kiss Quotient', Helen Hoang uses writing to process her Autism diagnosis," 5 July 2018 But this is what their ownership and front office wanted, a total tank job, so judging on that criteria, mission accomplished. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Growing group believes Beltre would nix a trade," 1 July 2018 All of the women are selected based on vulnerability criteria. Hannifah Sawadogo, The Christian Science Monitor, "In rural West Africa, gardening offers women a way out of poverty," 14 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about criterion

Dictionary Entries near criterion








Statistics for criterion

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for criterion

The first known use of criterion was in 1622

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for criterion



English Language Learners Definition of criterion

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on criterion

What made you want to look up criterion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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