Definition of criterion in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkrīˈtirēən/

noun (plural criteria /-ˈti(ə)rēə/)

A principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided: the launch came too close to violating safety criteria
More example sentences
  • Only then can we reach the standardised criterion of economic growth and prosperity.
  • Judged on those criteria, the tour is undoubtedly a flop of monumental proportions.
  • Unless you decide that for some reason it is better to judge by other criteria.
standard, specification, measure, gauge, test, scale, benchmark, yardstick, touchstone, barometer;
principle, rule, law, canon


Strictly speaking, the singular form (following the original Greek) is criterion and the plural form is criteria. It is a common mistake, however, to use criteria as if it were a singular, as in a further criteria needs to be considered.



Pronunciation: /-ˈti(ə)rēəl/
Example sentences
  • However - to reiterate a point already made - criterial links like this, though built into certain meaning-constituting postulates of the theory, are neither analytically true nor unrevisable.
  • In both of these respects, the inner sense bears an organizational and criterial relation to the senses, not only combining the information of the senses, but passing judgment on the results of this synthesis.
  • The theory supposes that, while different people can possess some different beliefs about race, they share certain criterial beliefs and these serve to define the concept.


Early 17th century: from Greek kritērion 'means of judging', from kritēs (see critic).

  • crisis from Late Middle English:

    At one time a crisis was specifically the turning point of a disease, a change that leads either to recovery or death. The source is Greek krisis ‘a decision’, from krinein ‘to decide, judge’ also the root of critic (early 17th century), critical (late 16th century), and criterion (early 17th century). Its more general sense ‘decisive point’ dates from the early 17th century. Crisis? What crisis? is often attributed to the British Prime Minister James Callaghan, but it was in fact coined by a headline writer in the newspaper the Sun. Returning to London from a meeting in the Caribbean in January 1979 during the ‘Winter of Discontent’ when the country was plagued by strikes and economic problems, Callaghan was interviewed at London Airport. He gave the comment ‘I don't think other people in the world would share the view there is mounting chaos.’ The next day the Sun's headline read: ‘Crisis? What Crisis?’

Words that rhyme with criterion

Algerian, Cancerian, Chaucerian, Cimmerian, Hesperian, Hitlerian, Hyperion, Iberian, Liberian, Nigerian, Presbyterian, Shakespearean, Siberian, Spenserian, Sumerian, valerian, Wagnerian, Zairean

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cri·te·ri·on

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