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touchstone

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noun touch·stone \ˈtəch-ˌstōn\

Simple Definition of touchstone

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of touchstone

  1. 1 :  a black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal

  2. 2 :  a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing

  3. 3 :  a fundamental or quintessential part or feature :  basis <a touchstone film of that decade> <now considered a touchstone of the city's life — Michael Specter>

Examples of touchstone in a sentence

  1. Good service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant.

  2. <his book has long been a touchstone for travel writing that aspires to be literature>



Did You Know?

Our example sentence uses "touchstone" in its most recently acquired sense: "a fundamental part." The earlier sense, "a criterion for quality" (as in "I Love Lucy is often seen as a touchstone for comparison with today's TV comedy shows"), provides a better clue to the original meaning of "touchstone," however. The "criterion" sense, which goes back more than 470 years, alludes to a method of testing the purity of a sample of gold. The sample was rubbed on a piece of dark quartz or jasper - the "touchstone." The mark it made was compared to adjacent rubbings on the touchstone from gold of known purity. This method has proved accurate enough that touchstones are still used by jewelers today.

1530

First Known Use of touchstone

1530

Synonym Discussion of touchstone

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 Mining and Drilling Terms

Rhymes with touchstone

agon, aitchbone, alone, atone, backbone, Bastogne, bemoan, Big Stone, birthstone, Blackstone, bloodstone, bluestone, bondstone, Boulogne, breastbone, bridge loan, brimstone, brownstone, call loan, calzone, Capone, capstone, cell phone, cheekbone, chinbone, cogon, cologne, Cologne, colon, colón, Colón, condone, copestone, corn pone, curbstone, cyclone, daimon, dapsone, debone, depone, dethrone, dial tone, disown, Dordogne, downzone, dripstone, drop zone, drystone, earphone, earth tone, end zone, enthrone, estrone, fieldstone, firestone, Firestone, flagstone, flowstone, flyblown, footstone, freestone, free zone, full-blown, gallstone, gemstone, Gijón, goldstone, gravestone, greenstone, grindstone, hailstone, halftone, handblown, hard stone, headphone, headstone, hearthstone, high-flown, hip bone, homegrown, hormone, hornstone, impone, ingrown, inkstone, in stone, intone, jawbone, jewel tone, keystone, León, leone, life zone, limestone, lodestone, long bone, Maidstone, milestone, millstone, moonstone, mudstone, nose cone, oilstone, orgone, ozone, pay phone, peptone, pinbone, pinecone, piñon, pipestone, postpone, potstone, propone, redbone, red zone, rhinestone, sandstone, shade-grown, shinbone, siltstone, snow cone, soapstone, splint bone, strike zone, T-bone, tailbone, thighbone, time zone, toadstone, tombstone, touch-tone, tritone, trombone, turnstone, twelve-tone, two-tone, Tyrone, unknown, unthrone, war zone, well-known, whalebone, wheel-thrown, whetstone, windblown, wishbone, Yangon



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