Extending this question: "Criteria" versus "criterion"

What is the difference between "criterion" (singl, noun) and "criterium" (singl, noun) ?

  • 4
    A dictionary would have been the single best way to answer this one yourself.
    – Rory Alsop
    May 31, 2016 at 13:57
  • I think a dictionary could have answered this one. May 31, 2016 at 13:57
  • 1
    I checked LEO and DICT and it is NOT helpful for me (I'm no native english speaker). One page says that "criterium" is used in context of bicycle racing but I don't fully get its meaning in that context.
    – Daniel W.
    May 31, 2016 at 14:02
  • @DanFromGermany If the answers below aren't clear, the two words are unrelated in use and simply appear similar because they share a common root - "to judge". One (criterion) thus becomes the thing by which we make a judgement, while the other (criterium) is a type of cycling competition (and thus gets judged). May 31, 2016 at 14:17
  • I thought criterium was a special criterion of the bike race. Now it's clear :-)
    – Daniel W.
    May 31, 2016 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


Criterion is something used to help make a judgement or decision

Criterium is a bike race


tl;dr: You in general want criterion, criteria, because criterium, criteriums is a very specialized term.

The normal word is criterion, criteria, which per Oxford Dictionaries Online means “a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.” The specialized U.S. term criterium, criteriums is again per Oxford “a one-day bicycle race on a circuit road course.”

The singular noun corresponding to the plural noun criteria is criterion. These are from the Greek, where you see -ion, -ia for singular and plural.

The term criterium comes to us from French. It's a kind of bicycle circuit race. Per Wiktionary it derives from:

From French critérium ‎(“competition”), from Late Latin criterium, from Ancient Greek κριτήριον ‎(kritḗrion).

With further explanation from Wikipedia:

A criterium, or crit, is a bike race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit, the length of each lap or circuit ranging from about 1 km to 2 km.

  • 1
    I love your answers, but don't you think this question was "general reference"? :)
    – NVZ
    May 31, 2016 at 14:00
  • @NVZ Don't worry: I blame Rory. :) ɴᴏᴛ
    – tchrist
    May 31, 2016 at 14:11
  • lol - I did vote to close, and I probably should have just put mine as a comment. (actually - if any mod wants to convert it to a comment, that's fine)
    – Rory Alsop
    May 31, 2016 at 15:24
  • Thank you for posting the only correct answer, which means based on etymological explanations, without which, language makes no sense. Jan 27, 2021 at 15:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.