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

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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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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Word Origin & History

1660s, from Gk. kriterion "means for judging, standard," from krites "judge."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In fact, careful studies that use the same criterion for diagnosis over time
  reveal no change in the prevalence of depression.
After each group chooses their shipwreck, direct them to apply each criterion
  to the wreck.
We have no criterion at our disposal before investigation itself furnishes one.
Maybe the patent examiners are not doing a good job in applying this criterion.
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