criterion

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

Andrew Yang qualified through the second set of criteria. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Which Democratic Candidates Have Qualified for the Primary Debates at This Point?," 29 Mar. 2019 Voters evaluate a slew of everyday items—like dish detergent and paper towels—and rate them on a list of criteria such as: appeal, advocacy, satisfaction, uniqueness, and excitement. Rachel Jacoby, Woman's Day, "40,000 People Swear By These 36 Home Products," 8 Feb. 2019 In fact, some of the diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder involve feelings of disgust, depression, and guilt about eating habits. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "8 Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist About Your Relationship With Food," 29 Jan. 2019 The 510 voters who decide The World's 50 Best Bars all have their own list of criteria. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "The World’s Best Bartenders on the Cocktails You’ll See Everywhere in 2019," 15 Jan. 2019 It is granted if the U.S. government determines a person has a credible fear or is facing persecution in their home country based on a set of distinct criteria. Erin Coulehan, Teen Vogue, "What Asylum Means, and Why People Seek It," 13 Nov. 2018 Both of these criteria are at the core of what ultimate is all about. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Ultimate Frisbee is likely to fly into the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games. You can see the world's top players here in Greater Cincinnati," 12 July 2018 If someone meeting both of these criteria isn’t found, at a minimum someone who isn’t a white male and who excites conservative activists might be suitable, and Barrett could fill the bill. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Amy Coney Barrett Looks Like a Future Trump SCOTUS Pick," 11 July 2018 The American Psychiatric Association has proposed — but not yet fully embraced — a set of diagnostic criteria that are somewhat more detailed. Melissa Healy, Washington Post, "World Health Organization says video game addiction is a disease. Why American psychiatrists don’t," 2 July 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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Learn More about criterion

Dictionary Entries near criterion

crit

critch

criteriology

criterion

criterium

crith

crithmene

Statistics for criterion

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for criterion

The first known use of criterion was in 1622

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More Definitions for criterion

criterion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of criterion

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

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Comments on criterion

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