met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Definition of metric

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 metrics plural : a part of prosody that deals with metrical (see metrical sense 1) structure the analytical study of metric— T. S. Eliot
2 : a standard of measurement no metric exists that can be applied directly to happinessScientific Monthly
3 : a mathematical function that associates a real nonnegative number analogous to distance with each pair of elements in a set such that the number is zero only if the two elements are identical, the number is the same regardless of the order in which the two elements are taken, and the number associated with one pair of elements plus that associated with one member of the pair and a third element is equal to or greater than the number associated with the other member of the pair and the third element



Definition of metric (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study
variants: or -metrical

Definition of -metric (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, employing, or obtained by (such) a meter galvanometric
2 : of or relating to (such) an art, process, or science of measuring geometrical

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The metric system was invented in France in the years following the French Revolution, and a version of it is now used in most of the world to measure distance, weight, and volume. Basic metric units include the kilogram (the basic unit of weight), the liter (the basic unit of volume), and of course the meter (the basic unit of length—see below). Metric—or more often metrical—can also refer to the basic underlying rhythm of songs and poetry. So while the scientists' measurements are usually metric, the poets' are usually metrical.

Examples of metric in a Sentence

Noun according to the usual metrics by which we judge fiction, this novel is an utter failure Adjective The metric unit of energy is the “joule.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Doron stressed that in the delta era, case rates are no longer the most important metric. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Oct. 2021 Overwork in sheer hours seems to be too simple a metric to diagnose burnout. Whizy Kim,, 28 Sep. 2021 The Air Quality Index is a metric developed by the Environmental Protection Agency which runs from 0 to 500, with 500 being the most polluted. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Aug. 2021 Positivity rate is a key metric for measuring the pandemic. Ramsey Archibald |, al, 8 Aug. 2021 This is a metric that punishes an algorithm for missing people with a need. Chris Hemphill, STAT, 7 Aug. 2021 Experts say there's a simpler and more accurate metric to show how the affordability of homes has changed over the past 50 years: the price-to-income ratio. Bayliss Wagner, USA TODAY, 30 July 2021 With viewers being able to access the Olympics across a number of screens, NBCU, beginning in 2016, has been using a metric called Total Audience Delivery. Brad Adgate, Forbes, 7 July 2021 There are, however, certain drawbacks to using the output-gap metric to predict monetary-policy changes. Simon Constable, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The collaboration collects a second week atop the multi-metric Hot Rock & Alternative Songs and Hot Alternative Songs charts. Gary Trust, Billboard, 11 Oct. 2021 By nearly any metric, both moving and scoring the ball have been challenges for IU so far this season. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Oct. 2021 Over the last twenty years, the health of Afghans improved by almost every metric. Tim Lister, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 By any metric, the rate of heat pump installations is behind., 21 Aug. 2021 By nearly every metric, the wildfires in the Western United States are worsening. New York Times, 16 July 2021 By that metric, THR had 601 days of cash at the end of March, 31% more than a year ago. Dallas News, 6 July 2021 But the Federal Reserve policies which are influenced by inflation metric include changes in interest rates or the money supply, which impact the entire economy. George Calhoun, Forbes, 23 May 2021 Multnomah County trails only Benton, Lincoln and Hood River counties by that metric. oregonlive, 6 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of metric


1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1862, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for metric


metric "metrical art, prosody" (in part borrowed from Late Latin metrica —short for ars metrica "metrical art"— from feminine of Latin metricus "metrical, rhythmic," borrowed from Greek metrikós; in part borrowed from Greek metrikḗ —short for metrikḕ téchnē "metrical craft"— or metriká, from, respectively, feminine singular and neuter plural of metrikós "by measurement, metrical") + -ics; (sense 2-3) probably noun derivative of metric "of measurement," earliest in mathematical use, probably after German Metrik — more at metrical


borrowed from French métrique, from mètre meter entry 3 + -ique -ic entry 1

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for metric



English Language Learners Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Kids Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system metric measurements


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Medical Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study

Other Words from metric

metrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce metric (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on metric

Nglish: Translation of metric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of metric for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about metric


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