criterion

[krahy-teer-ee-uhn]
noun, plural criteria [krahy-teer-ee-uh] , criterions.
a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

Origin:
1605–15; < Greek kritḗrion a standard, equivalent to kri- variant stem of krī́nein to separate, decide + -tērion neuter suffix of means (akin to Latin -tōrium -tory2)

criterial, adjective

criteria, criterion (see usage note at the current entry).


measure, touchstone, yardstick. See standard.


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 only infrequently in edited prose, in standard English, it is more clearly used as a plural with criterion as the singular.
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World English Dictionary
criterion (kraɪˈtɪərɪən)
 
n , pl -ria, -rions
1.  a standard by which something can be judged or decided
2.  philosophy a defining characteristic of something
 
usage  Criteria, the plural of criterion, is not acceptable as a singular noun: this criterion is not valid; these criteria are not valid

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

criterion
1660s, from Gk. kriterion "means for judging, standard," from krites "judge."

criteria
1620s, plural of criterion (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Participants draw up their own criteria, and selections can be made based on
  anything from unique attributes to odd names.
Six patients improved so much they no longer met the criteria for legal
  blindness.
The difference has to do with the lab tests and concentration criteria that are
  used-neither of which is standardized.
Fifty students, or about a fifth of those surveyed, met the authors' criteria
  for addiction to indoor tanning.
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