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From New Latin criterion, from Ancient Greek κριτήριον (kritḗrion, a test, a means of judging), from κριτής (kritḗs, judge), from κρίνω (krínō, to judge); see critic.



criterion (plural criteria)

  1. A standard or test by which individual things or people may be compared and judged.
    Criterion of choice, of decision, of selection
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXVII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 310:
      Knowledge has come to her too soon—knowledge of evil, unqualified by the general charities which longer experience infallibly brings; but her age has lent its own freshness to this first great emotion; it becomes unconsciously a criterion, and the judgment is harsh, because the remembrance is bitter.
    • 1986, Piotr Buczkowski, Andrzej Klawiter, editors, Theories of Ideology and Ideology of Theories[1], Rodopi, →ISBN, →ISSN, page 57:
      The Enlightment worldview, which considered the order of "Nature" as a basis and, at the same time, the subject of explorations of scientific natural sciences, has, at the same time, considered this order as a criterion of the artistically-aesthetic qualities of art. From an "ideological" point of view, it liberated art from its feudal religious and courtly servitude.
    • 2013 November 30, Paul Davis, “Letters: Say it as simply as possible”, in The Economist[2], volume 409, number 8864:
      Congratulations on managing to use the phrase “preponderant criterion” in a chart (“On your marks”, November 9th). Was this the work of a kakorrhaphiophobic journalist set a challenge by his colleagues, or simply an example of glossolalia?

Usage notes[edit]

  • The plural form criterions also exists, but is much less common.
  • The form criteria is sometimes used as a nonstandard singular form (as in a criteria, this criteria, and so on), with corresponding plural form criterias. In this use, it sometimes means “a single criterion”, sometimes “a set of criteria”.

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Further reading[edit]




From Ancient Greek κριτήριον (kritḗrion).



criterion n (genitive criteriī); second declension

  1. criterion


Second-declension noun (neuter, Greek-type).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative criterion criteria
Genitive criteriī criteriōrum
Dative criteriō criteriīs
Accusative criterion criteria
Ablative criteriō criteriīs
Vocative criterion criteria