— criterial , adj.
/kruy tear"ee euhn/ , n. , pl. criteria /-tear"ee euh/ , criterions .
a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.
[ 1605-15; kritérion a standard, equiv. to kri- var. s. of krínein to separate, decide + -terion neut. suffix of means (akin to L -torium -TORY 2 ) ]
Syn . measure, touchstone, yardstick. See standard .
Usage . Like some other nouns borrowed from the Greek, CRITERION has both a Greek plural, CRITERIA, and a plural formed on the English pattern, CRITERIONS. The plural in -a occurs with far greater frequency than does the -s plural: These are the criteria for the selection of candidates. Although CRITERIA is sometimes used as a singular, most often in speech and rather infrequently in edited prose, it continues strongly in use as a plural in standard English, with CRITERION as the singular.