from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A standard, rule, or test on which a judgment or decision can be based.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A standard of judgment or criticism; a law, rule, or principle regarded as universally valid for the class of cases under consideration, by which matters of fact, propositions, opinions, or conduct can be tested in order to discover their truth or falsehood, or by which a correct judgment may be formed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A standard of judging; any approved or established rule or test, by which facts, principles opinions, and conduct are tried in forming a correct judgment respecting them.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A standard or test by which individual things or people may be compared and judged.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
  • noun the ideal in terms of which something can be judged


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek kritērion, from kritēs, judge, from krīnein, to separate, judge; see krei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin criterion, from Ancient Greek κριτήριον (kriterion, "a test, a means of judging"), from κριτής (krites, "a judge"), from κρίνω (krinō, "I judge"); see critic.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word criterion.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • If I ever get tired of Smith, this will be my new last name.

    May 23, 2007

  • What a unique last name. Where does it come from? ;) (Requisite smiley)

    May 23, 2007

  • My ancestors were people who hit stuff with hammers. A noble lineage, to be sure.

    May 23, 2007

  • this word makes you sound clever. It is also the name of a posh restaurant in London.

    September 30, 2008