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 2004, Seminole voters approved a ballot measure that established a strict rural boundary mostly east of the Econ, Oviedo and Lake Jesup. Martin E. Comas,, "East Seminole residents express relief after board rejects rural development but ready for future battles," 13 July 2018 Non-lethal measures have the best long-term results for farmers, said Lee Humberg, state director of Wildlife Services with the USDA. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 Safety and soundproofing measures are required as part of the project's approval. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "East Dundee to get another gun range," 13 July 2018 Other suggestions included looking at communities that had failed to pass school referendum measures. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "State works on identifying troubled school districts," 13 July 2018 The 470-word release infers several times that Karvelis used the Socialism Conference 2018 to kick off the #InvestinEd ballot measure campaign. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "Name-calling begins in battle over #InvestInEd ballot measure," 12 July 2018 This November, George Skelton at The Los Angeles Times reports that the Golden State will vote on a ballot measure whether or not to authorize the legislature to end DST. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The EU Mulls Ditching Daylight Saving Time," 9 July 2018 These are the first major ballot measures the secretary of state has handled since 2013, when the requirement for the 18 legislative districts was added. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Medicaid supporters submit their signatures - and wait to hear if we'll vote this fall," 6 July 2018 The major public-sector unions are also major backers of ballot-measure campaigns, having spent more than $7 million on such efforts in 2015 and 2016. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Supreme Court Labor Decision Wasn’t Just a Loss for Unions," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Poverty measured by consumption has fallen dramatically since the 1990s, while data from the Census Bureau shows poverty remaining relatively flat. Jeff Stein And Tracy Jan,, "White House declares war on poverty 'largely over' amid push to revamp social programs," 14 July 2018 Companies are choosing to stay private longer, and the public market as measured by the S&P 500 has stalled in 2018. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Term Sheet - Friday, July 13," 13 July 2018 That's a tall order when most of Arizona is in a severe or extreme drought, as measured by the National Drought Mitigation Center. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "As the Arizona drought persists, Phoenix's water use continues to drop," 12 July 2018 Today, Alrosa, which is majority-owned by the Russian federal and regional governments, produces about 28 percent of the world’s diamonds, as measured by weight. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "A Diamond Giant Plays Up Its Russian Ties to Appeal to Americans," 11 July 2018 Trump might face the toughest part of his trip in the British capital, at least measured by public sentiment. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "From ‘warzone’ to ‘hellhole,’ Trump may regret past comments on Europe this week," 10 July 2018 But soccer is not the most strenuous athletic activity, as measured by the average rate at which players burn calories. Tom Avril,, "World Cup athletes burn a lot of energy. But some sports are even more demanding," 6 July 2018 Fishing capacity in Palamós—measured by increases in horsepower (the larger the engine, the greater the vessel’s range and capacity)—grew by 8,782 percent between 1900 and 2013. Wendy Mitman Clarke, Smithsonian, "How a Fallback to Historic Traditions Might Save Catalonia’s Red Shrimp Fishery," 5 July 2018 The Earth’s axis of rotation is currently at an angle of 23.4º to the vertical, as measured with respect to the plane in which the planet orbits. The Economist, "Empty sky, empty Earth?," 5 July 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

10 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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