Synonym Chooser

How does the noun criterion contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of criterion are gauge, standard, touchstone, and yardstick. While all these words mean "a means of determining what a thing should be," 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

When is gauge a more appropriate choice than criterion?

While in some cases nearly identical to criterion, 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

When could standard be used to replace criterion?

Although the words standard and criterion have much in common, standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority.

standards of behavior

When is it sensible to use touchstone instead of criterion?

The meanings of touchstone and criterion largely overlap; however, touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible.

fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant

How do yardstick and criterion relate to one another?

Yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality.

housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth

Thesaurus Entries Near criterion

Cite this Entry

“Criterion.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on criterion

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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