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

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

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 Even with all that power, O'Neill is also one of the game's fastest players, ranking in the 98th percentile in Statcast's sprint speed metric. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 17 Sep. 2021 Wallace fares reasonably well in this advanced metric that attempts to measure the wins contributed by an individual over his career, checking in at No. 60 (out of 157) with 93.5. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 12 Sep. 2021 Wall Street will be looking for more growth in that key metric. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 16 Aug. 2021 Streaming hours over the Roku platform also slipped 5% from the first quarter—the first sequential decline for this metric on record. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2021 Equally important is the absence of bad losses, and the Aztecs (17-4, 11-3) have none outside the top 60 of the NCAA’s NET metric. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2021 The social cost of carbon metric was initially developed by the Obama administration to quantify the costs of global damages caused by rising temperatures. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, 22 Jan. 2021 Notre Dame is second in the strength of record metric, one better than A&M. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, 19 Dec. 2020 New Orleans on Wednesday just barely fell on the right side of a state coronavirus metric that determines whether bars can be open, leaving it as the only parish in Louisiana still allowing bars to serve patrons indoors under statewide rules. Jeff Adelson,, 16 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Single-shift fix rate, which tracks whether maintainers can return a fighter to service within eight hours, is another metric where F-35A has consistently outperformed other tactical aircraft. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 But so much of the language around self-help and self-improvement reinforces the idea that happiness is a metric that’s both within your control and meant to rest at 100% at all times., 25 Aug. 2021 Positivity rates—as my colleagues at the COVID Tracking Project argued over and over—are a fraught metric, especially when used as a threshold for crucial decisions. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 15 Aug. 2021 Hospitalizations aren’t the only metric currently rising in Alabama. al, 13 Aug. 2021 There's also a new Walking Steadiness metric that routinely analyzes your fall risk. Evan Selinger, Wired, 11 Aug. 2021 Unfortunately, this is a metric that isn’t really very indicative of how long a phone will last on a charge. Maren Estrada, BGR, 5 Aug. 2021 As for whether Oregon’s largest county will mandate masks, health director Jessica Guernsey said there is no single metric her department is looking at. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 5 Aug. 2021 Studies are tracking antibody production among immunocompromised populations, although scientists aren’t sure antibodies are the best metric for measuring a person’s defense against COVID-19. Julie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About metric

Dictionary Entries Near metric




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for metric

Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!