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noun ru·bric \ˈrü-brik, -ˌbrik\

Simple Definition of rubric

  • : a name or heading under which something is classified

  • : an explanation or a set of instructions at the beginning of a book, a test, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of rubric

  1. 1 a :  an authoritative rule; especially :  a rule for conduct of a liturgical service b (1) :  name, title; specifically :  the title of a statute (2) :  something under which a thing is classed :  category <the sensations falling under the general rubric, “pressure” — F. A. Geldard> c :  an explanatory or introductory commentary :  gloss; specifically :  an editorial interpolation

  2. 2 :  a heading of a part of a book or manuscript done or underlined in a color (as red) different from the rest

  3. 3 :  an established rule, tradition, or custom

  4. 4 :  a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests

rubric or rubrical play \-bri-kəl\ adjective
rubrically play \-bri-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of rubric in a sentence

  1. <the rubrics at the beginning of the chapters are intended to be humorous>

  2. <the rubric, popular among jewelers anyway, that a man should spend a month's salary on his fiancée's engagement ring>

Did You Know?

Centuries ago, whenever manuscript writers inserted special instructions or explanations into a book, they put them in red ink to set them off from the black used in the main text. (They used the same practice to highlight saints' names and holy days in calendars, a practice which gave us the term red-letter day.) Ultimately, such special headings or comments came to be called rubrics, a term that traces back to ruber, the Latin word for "red." While the printing sense remains in use today, rubric also has an extended sense referring to any class or category under which something is organized.

Origin of rubric

Middle English rubrike red ocher, heading in red letters of part of a book, from Anglo-French, from Latin rubrica, from rubr-, ruber red

First Known Use: 14th century

Law Dictionary


noun ru·bric \ˈrü-brik\

Legal Definition of rubric

  1. :  an established rule, tradition, or custom

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tending to dismiss important matters

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