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cri•te•ri•on(kraɪˈtɪər i ən)
n., pl. -te•ri•a (-ˈtɪər i ə)
(See also TEST.)
acid test Any crucial or conclusive test to judge value or genuineness; the “real” test. The term is an extension of a chemical test using nitric acid or aqua fortis, as it is sometimes called, to determine the gold content of jewelry. Used literally in 1892 in G. F. Gee’s The Jeweller’s Assistant, the expression was first used in its figurative sense in 1912:
Few professional beauties could have stood, as this woman did, the acid test of that mercilessly brilliant morning. (L. J. Vance, Destroying Angel, 1912)
Aunt Sally See VICTIMIZATION.
bench mark A standard or touchstone against which to measure; a criterion or test. A bench mark is literally a surveyor’s arrow-shaped mark indicating a given elevation used as a point of reference in measuring other elevations. According to the OED the name comes from the way a surveyor’s angle-iron forms a bracket or bench to support the leveling-staff when taking a reading. The term was used figuratively as early as 1884 in Science:
These star-places … are the reference-points and benchmarks of the universe.
landmark decision A verdict issued by a high court (e.g., the Supreme Court) which determines the direction or disposition of a previously untried issue; a precedent-setting ruling. Traditionally, a landmark is a guide for direction in one’s course, or, metaphorically, an event that marks a turning point in history. As an adjective, landmark has come to describe any decision or legislation of such significance that it will serve as a guide or criterion in similar matters in the future.
play in Peoria To be accepted by the common man of “Middle America.” Peoria, a small town in central Illinois, has come to represent traditional, down-to-earth American values, perhaps originally from the experiences of traveling theater troupes in playing to small town audiences. Today the expression is most often heard in the political context; “playing in Peoria” successfully has become the touchstone for determining an idea’s appeal to the American public at large.
Procrustean bed An arbitrary system or standard to which ideas, facts, etc., are forced to conform. In Greek mythology, the robber Procrustes made his victims fit the length of his bed by stretching or amputating their limbs. Thus, to stretch or place on the bed of Procrustes is to produce conformity by violent, irrational means. Figurative use of Procrustean bed dates from the 16th century.
Neither must we attempt to confine the Platonic dialogue on the Procrustean bed of a single idea. (Benjamin Jowett, tr., The Dialogues of Plato, 1875)
the proof of the pudding is in the eating A proverbial admonition against passing judgment on something without first examining the evidence or facts; often shortened to the proof of the pudding. Another popular proverb conveying basically the same message is the imperative don’t judge a book by its cover.
rule of thumb A rough guide or approximate measurement; a practical criterion or standard. The thumb’s breadth was formerly used in measurements to approximate one inch. Since such reckoning was imprecise and unscientific, rule of thumb has come also to indicate a guideline resulting from instinct rather than from scientific investigation. The phrase has been in figurative use for nearly three centuries.
What he doth, he doth by rule of thumb, and not by Art. (Sir William Hope, The Compleat Fencing-Master, 1692)
sounding board A person to whom new concepts and ideas are presented for his reaction or opinion. A sounding board is a structure which reflects sound back to an audience. Its figurative usage was illustrated in Atlantic, as cited by Webster’s Third:
… use the newspapermen merely as a sounding board.
touchstone A criterion or test; a standard or measure. A touchstone is literally a smooth, black, siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold and silver alloys. By rubbing the alloy on the stone and analyzing the color of the streak on the stone, the gold or silver content can be determined. The term was used both literally and figuratively as early as the mid-15th century.
trial balloon Literally, a balloon which is used to test air currents and wind velocity. By extension, a trial balloon is any specific proposal, statement, etc., used to test public reaction by provoking feedback.
A criterion is a standard by which you judge or evaluate something.
The plural of criterion is criteria.
|Noun||1.||criterion - a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated; "the schools comply with federal standards"; "they set the measure for all subsequent work"|
benchmark - a standard by which something can be measured or judged; "his painting sets the benchmark of quality"
earned run average, ERA - (baseball) a measure of a pitcher's effectiveness; calculated as the average number of earned runs allowed by the pitcher for every nine innings pitched
GPA, grade point average - a measure of a student's academic achievement at a college or university; calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number attempted
procrustean bed, procrustean rule, procrustean standard - a standard that is enforced uniformly without regard to individuality
yardstick - a measure or standard used for comparison; "on what kind of yardstick is he basing his judgment?"
medium of exchange, monetary system - anything that is generally accepted as a standard of value and a measure of wealth in a particular country or region
system of measurement, metric - a system of related measures that facilitates the quantification of some particular characteristic
graduated table, ordered series, scale, scale of measurement - an ordered reference standard; "judging on a scale of 1 to 10"
standard of measurement, gauge - accepted or approved instance or example of a quantity or quality against which others are judged or measured or compared
baseline - an imaginary line or standard by which things are measured or compared; "the established a baseline for the budget"
norm - a standard or model or pattern regarded as typical; "the current middle-class norm of two children per family"
|2.||criterion - the ideal in terms of which something can be judged; "they live by the standards of their community"|
control condition, control - a standard against which other conditions can be compared in a scientific experiment; "the control condition was inappropriate for the conclusions he wished to draw"
ideal - the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
design criteria - criteria that designers should meet in designing some system or device; "the job specifications summarized the design criteria"