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noun stan·dard \ˈstan-dərd\

Simple Definition of standard

  • : a level of quality, achievement, etc., that is considered acceptable or desirable

  • standards : ideas about morally correct and acceptable behavior

  • : something that is very good and that is used to make judgments about the quality of other things

Full Definition of standard

  1. 1 :  a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem

  2. 2a :  a long narrow tapering flag that is personal to an individual or corporation and bears heraldic devicesb :  the personal flag of the head of a state or of a member of a royal familyc :  an organization flag carried by a mounted or motorized military unitd :  banner 1

  3. 3 :  something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example :  criterion <quite slow by today's standards>

  4. 4 :  something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality

  5. 5a :  the fineness and legally fixed weight of the metal used in coinsb :  the basis of value in a monetary system <the gold standard>

  6. 6 :  a structure built for or serving as a base or support

  7. 7a :  a shrub or herb grown with an erect main stem so that it forms or resembles a treeb :  a fruit tree grafted on a stock that does not induce dwarfing

  8. 8a :  the large odd upper petal of a papilionaceous flower (as of the pea)b :  one of the three inner usually erect and incurved petals of an iris

  9. 9 :  a musical composition (as a song) that has become a part of the standard repertoire

stan·dard·less adjective

Examples of standard

  1. By modern standards, the house is just too small.

  2. This book is the standard by which all others must be judged.

Origin of standard

Middle English, from Anglo-French estandard banner, standard, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English standan to stand and probably to Old High German hart hard

First Known Use: 12th century

Synonym Discussion of standard

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority <standards of behavior>. criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not <questioned the critic's criteria for excellence>. gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect <polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction>. yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality <housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth>. touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible <fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant>.

Other Heraldry Terms



adjective stan·dard

Simple Definition of standard

  • : regularly and widely used, seen, or accepted : not unusual or special

  • : generally accepted and used because of high quality or excellence

  • : accepted and used by most of the educated speakers and writers of a language

Full Definition of standard

  1. 1a :  constituting or conforming to a standard especially as established by law or custom <standard weight>b :  sound and usable but not of top quality <standard beef>

  2. 2a :  regularly and widely used, available, or supplied <standard automobile equipment>b :  well-established and very familiar <the standard opera>

  3. 3 :  having recognized and permanent value <a standard reference work>

  4. 4 :  substantially uniform and well established by usage in the speech and writing of the educated and widely recognized as acceptable <standard pronunciation is subject to regional variations>

stan·dard·ly adverb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up standard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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