What word would you use to refer to multiple groups of criteria?

I'm building an application in which I'm performing several kinds of searches for specific records in a couple of tables. Each table has a specific set of values in various columns I need to search for to find the records. e.g.:

  • Table 1
    • Search term a
    • Search term b
  • Table 2
    • Search term a
    • Search term b
  • Table 3
    • Search term a
    • Search term b

Normally if I were to give a name to each of these levels I would call the second level (search term a and b) Search Criteria.

What would I call the top level? The grouping of various sets of criteria. Would that be "criterias"? Similar to "peoples" representing multiple groups of people?

  • 2
    I would call them "searches", since that's what they seem to be. Sep 18, 2015 at 19:34
  • 1
    It's still just criteria. Criteria is plural and doesn't care if you ask for 2 things or 2 million. If you only search one thing, though, it's criterion.
    – VampDuc
    Sep 18, 2015 at 19:53
  • @VampDuc The count of things being searched for wasn't really the part I was wondering about, it was the idea of multiple groups of criteria like peoples are multiple groups of a type of people. In that sense it's still just criteria? I mean it's fine if it is, there just seems to be something missing in the meaning of the word at that point :/ Sep 18, 2015 at 19:56
  • @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams, good point. Sep 18, 2015 at 19:57
  • @ChrisSchmitz In my mind it is. If your tables were Schools, Classes, and Students, the data contained within each is very different, but you are still searching for one thing (or one set of things) that match a search. Your search terms are the criteria of determining the set. You can refer to the action as a search, but what you search for is defined by its criteria.
    – VampDuc
    Sep 18, 2015 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


The top level is composed of search contexts. Table 1 is the first search context - the domain of things (e.g. terms) that are searched. Table 2 is another search context, etc.

  • Oh man, fantastic answer. That fits perfectly! Sep 18, 2015 at 21:53

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