The percentage of nucleotides which must match on two unrelated single-stranded nucleic acid molecules before they will base pair with each other to form a duplex, given a certain set of physical and chemical conditions.
The hybridization stringency is used to determine when a hybridization probe and a target nucleic acid will come together, and can be set by the researcher by varying the conditions. In general, if the percentage of matching nucleotides is lower than 70 percent, the two single-stranded nucleic acid molecules are considered nonhomologous and any hybridization is considered nonstringent.
From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.