mea·sure | \ ˈme-zhər , ˈmā- \

Definition of measure 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : an adequate or due portion all too few of the British actresses … have received their measure of remembranceSaturday Review

(2) : a moderate degree also : moderation, temperance

(3) : a fixed or suitable limit : bounds rich beyond measure

b : the dimensions, capacity, or amount of something ascertained by measuring took his measure for a coat

c : an estimate of what is to be expected (as of a person or situation) the measure of their tragedy is now beyond our imagination —G. F. Kennan

d(1) : a measured quantity

(2) : amount, degree giving children a greater measure of freedom

2a : an instrument (such as a yardstick) or utensil (such as a graduated cup) for measuring

b(1) : a standard or unit of measurement — see Weights and Measures Table

(2) : a system of standard units of measure metric measure

3 : the act or process of measuring settled by a measure made by a surveyor

4a(1) : melody, tune

(2) : dance especially : a slow and stately dance

b : rhythmic structure or movement : cadence: such as

(1) : poetic rhythm measured by temporal (see temporal entry 1 sense 3) quantity or accent specifically : meter

(2) : musical time

c(1) : a grouping of a specified number of musical beats located between two consecutive vertical lines on a staff

(2) : a metrical unit : foot

5 : an exact divisor of a number 6 being the greatest common measure of 42 and 12

6 : a basis or standard of comparison wealth is not a measure of happiness

7 : a step planned or taken as a means to an end took strong measures against the rebels specifically : a proposed legislative act sponsored an anti-inflation measure in the senate

for good measure

: in addition to the minimum required : as an extra added another illustration for good measure


measured; measuring\ˈme-zhə-riŋ, ˈmā-; ˈmezh-riŋ, ˈmāzh- \

Definition of measure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to choose or control with cautious restraint : regulate measure his acts

b : to regulate by a standard : govern

2 : to allot or apportion in measured amounts measure out three cups

3 : to lay off by making measurements

4 : to ascertain the measurements of

5 : to estimate or appraise by a criterion measures his skill against his rival

6 archaic : to travel over : traverse

7 : to serve as a means of measuring a thermometer measures temperature

intransitive verb

1 : to take or make a measurement

2 : to have a specified measurement

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Other words from measure


measurability \ˌme-zhə-rə-ˈbi-lə-tē, ˌmā-; ˌmezh-rə-, ˌmāzh- \ noun
measurable \ˈme-zhə-rə-bəl, ˈmā-; ˈmezh-rə-, ˈmāzh- \ adjective
measurably \-blē \ adverb
measurer \-zhər-ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for measure

Synonyms: Noun

expedient, means, move, shift, step

Synonyms: Verb

bridle, check, constrain, contain, control, curb, govern, hold, inhibit, keep, pull in, regulate, rein (in), restrain, rule, tame

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of measure in a Sentence


She felt equal measures of hope and fear. Their actions were motivated in large measure by a desire for revenge. An occasion like this calls for some measure of decorum. The meter is a measure of length. The dictionary includes a table of weights and measures. The legislature has passed a measure aimed at protecting consumers. The governor has proposed a number of cost-cutting measures. They were forced to resort to desperate measures. We need to take measures to protect ourselves.


using a ruler to measure a piece of paper an instrument for measuring air pressure mental abilities measured by IQ testing He's being measured for a new suit. His success cannot be measured solely on the basis of his popularity. The cloth measures 3 meters. The room measures 15 feet wide by 30 feet long.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the meantime, cities like Mesa and Phoenix are using a 2016 law to create their own ordinances as a stop-gap measure to alleviate what some residents say is an onslaught of these facilities. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Waiting for state sober living home rules, cities add their own restrictions," 7 July 2018 By Pedro Portal Long lines were reported outside grocery stores on the islands of Dominica, Puerto Rico and elsewhere as people bought food and water as a preventive measure, the Associated Press reported. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Beryl weakens to a tropical storm with winds up to 60 mph as it heads toward islands," 7 July 2018 Even when looked at over a longer time period or by using gross population growth — rather than percentage population growth — as the measure, some states among the three fastest-growing have income tax rates higher than Michigan's, records show. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Does anyone running for governor have a new idea? We asked the candidates," 6 July 2018 The San Diego County Registrar of Voters determined last week the proposal received enough signatures to qualify as a measure for the Nov. 6 ballot. David Hernandez,, "Rent-control measure qualifies for ballot; National City to dismiss lawsuit," 6 July 2018 Another provision was the creation of a new pension level, known as Tier 4, which is a hybrid plan for new employees that is similar to a 401(k) plan that Republicans and conservative Democrats have long supported as a cost saving measure. Christopher Keating,, "State Employees To Receive Bonuses Soon As Part Of Agreement Between Unions, Malloy," 3 July 2018 The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that sought the injunction, alleged that the Trump administration was locking up the vast majority of asylum applicants during their proceedings as a measure to deter mass migration. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "Federal Judge Rules Against Mass Detention of Asylum Seekers," 2 July 2018 Consultant Clark was angry that the study, which the city launched as a proactive measure, had not been released before the shooting. Katie Bernard, kansascity, "Lawrence police study has been done for months — but city has delayed its release," 2 July 2018 The city added 9-inch concrete caps to the current seawalls, which are about 80 to 90 years old, at a cost of about $1.8 million earlier this year as an interim measure. Hillary Davis,, "Voters will be asked whether to approve borrowing for high-ticket items but there is only one project on the horizon," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Frost’s blood-alcohol concentration level was measured at .185 at the Aurora Police Station, officials said. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Montgomery driver who struck pedestrian in downtown Aurora pleads guilty to fourth DUI," 9 July 2018 When pressed for details, the same group will provide an injury prognosis in the terms of minutes and hours, as if recoveries can be measured with an egg timer. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "It's time for college football, NCAA to embrace injury reports with gambling influence rising," 3 July 2018 After the crash, Burns’ blood alcohol content was measured at .20, more than two times the legal limit of .08, the arrest report said. Linda Trischitta,, "Man accused of drunken driving in deadly 2016 crash," 2 July 2018 The defendant - whose blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.2 percent at the hospital -- was seriously injured. City News Service, Rancho Bernardo, "Judge won't drop charges in fatal RB blaze," 25 June 2018 The response won’t be measured in wins and losses — this bunch will rack up plenty of the latter this year. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "After embarrassing week, Detroit Tigers to have mental toughness tested," 24 June 2018 The facts are there to be measured, even for those who believe the cost of an education exceeds the long-term payback. Christopher Quinn, ajc, "Costs of starting and not finishing college are high," 23 June 2018 The gar, which was measured 44 inches in girth, was caught near what Naegeli said was a ten-foot alligator. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Texas' own 'Fish Whisperer' catches an 8-foot alligator gar in the Trinity River," 18 June 2018 Other research has produced wildly different results, depending on how impairment was measured. Shelley Murphy,, "Drugged driving a complex question for new commission," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'measure.' 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 measure


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for measure


Middle English mesure, from Anglo-French, from Latin mensura, from mensus, past participle of metiri to measure; akin to Old English mǣth measure, Greek metron


see measure entry 1

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Statistics for measure

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for measure

The first known use of measure was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for measure



English Language Learners Definition of measure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount or degree of something

: something (such as a cup or a ruler) that is used to measure things

: a unit used in measuring something



English Language Learners Definition of measure (Entry 2 of 2)

: to find out the size, length, or amount of (something)

: to find out the size of (someone) for clothing

: to judge the importance, value, or extent of (something)


mea·sure | \ ˈme-zhər \

Kids Definition of measure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extent sense 2, degree, amount Our plan did succeed in large measure.

2 : the size, capacity, or quantity of something that has been determined Use equal measures of flour and milk.

3 : something (as a yardstick or cup) used in determining size, capacity, or quantity

4 : a unit used in determining size, capacity, or quantity An inch is a measure of length.

5 : a system of determining size, capacity, or quantity liquid measure

6 : the notes and rests between bar lines on a musical staff

7 : a way of accomplishing something a safety measure The new law is a measure to save energy.

for good measure

: as something added or extra We gave the wall another coat of paint for good measure.


measured; measuring

Kids Definition of measure (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to find out the size, extent, or amount of You should measure the cloth before cutting.

2 : to separate out a fixed amount She measured the rice.

3 : estimate entry 1 I had to measure the distance with my eye.

4 : to bring into comparison Why don't you measure your skill against mine?

5 : to give a determination of size, capacity, or quantity : indicate A thermometer measures temperature.

6 : to have as its size, capacity, or quantity The cloth measures ten meters.

measure up

: to satisfy needs or requirements They did not measure up to expectations.


mea·sure | \ ˈmezh-ər , ˈmāzh- \

Medical Definition of measure 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an instrument or utensil for measuring

2 : a standard or unit of measurement also : a system of such measures metric measure


measured; measuring\ˈmezh-(ə-)riŋ, ˈmāzh- \

Medical Definition of measure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to allot or apportion in measured amounts

2 : to ascertain the measurements of

3 : to serve as a measure of a thermometer measures temperature

intransitive verb

: to have a specified measurement

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Comments on measure

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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