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 seven criteria include whether counties have adequate levels of contact tracing staff, personal protection equipment and testing supplies. oregonlive, "Clackamas County submits coronavirus reopening plan, Washington County to apply Friday," 20 May 2020 Other criteria include parties at tables must be five guests or fewer – and each table should be at a minimum of 6 feet away from other patrons or a physical barrier separating them. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Washington state will soon let restaurants reopen — but only if they keep a record of all their customers," 12 May 2020 State criteria for opening more businesses includes counties having a rate of coronavirus spread that does not exceed one new case per 10,000 people over the previous two weeks. Matt Kawahara,, "Sonoma County allows retailers to open Friday for curbside pickup," 7 May 2020 The criteria include businesses with a tangible net worth below $15 million and those that generated annual after-tax net income not exceeding $5 million. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "3 Arizona public companies got loans aimed to help small businesses weather coronavirus disruptions," 28 Apr. 2020 Businesses that can meet the criteria may begin operations on Monday, April 27, 2010. Anchorage Daily News, "Watch live: Mayor Berkowitz discusses easing pandemic restrictions on Anchorage businesses," 24 Apr. 2020 Those criteria could include how quickly and how far the pollution moves from its source before reaching surface water, the underlying geology and how much the chemicals are diluted or broken down. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "‘Hydrologists should be happy.’ Big Supreme Court ruling bolsters groundwater science," 23 Apr. 2020 The agency has also expanded criteria for coronavirus testing. USA Today, "Three months in: A timeline of how COVID-19 has unfolded in the US," 21 Apr. 2020 If your symptoms fit the CDC's criteria for getting tested, a lab in the Open Med network will prepare and send a test request form to your doctor. Christina Oehler,, "8 Apps That Will Help You Manage Your Health and Navigate the Coronavirus Pandemic," 10 Apr. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Criterion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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