ru·​bric | \ ˈrü-brik How to pronounce rubric (audio) , -ˌbrik \

Definition of rubric

1a : an authoritative rule especially : a rule for conduct of a liturgical service
b(1) : name, title specifically : the title of a statute
(2) : something under which a thing is classed : category the sensations falling under the general rubric, "pressure"— F. A. Geldard
c : an explanatory or introductory commentary : gloss specifically : an editorial interpolation
2 : a heading of a part of a book or manuscript done or underlined in a color (such as red) different from the rest
3 : an established rule, tradition, or custom
4 : a guide listing specific criteria for grading or scoring academic papers, projects, or tests

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Other Words from rubric

rubric or rubrical \ ˈrü-​bri-​kəl How to pronounce rubric (audio) \ adjective
rubrically \ ˈrü-​bri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce rubric (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

Centuries ago, whenever manuscript writers inserted special instructions or explanations into a book, they put them in red ink to set them off from the black used in the main text. (They used the same practice to highlight saints' names and holy days in calendars, a practice which gave us the term red-letter day.) Ultimately, such special headings or comments came to be called rubrics, a term that traces back to ruber, the Latin word for "red." While the printing sense remains in use today, rubric also has an extended sense referring to any class or category under which something is organized.

Examples of rubric in a Sentence

the rubrics at the beginning of the chapters are intended to be humorous the rubric, popular among jewelers anyway, that a man should spend a month's salary on his fiancée's engagement ring
Recent Examples on the Web None of it makes sense through the rubric of a news division. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 9 June 2021 Under the grading rubric, Ale Industries has given itself an F. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 June 2021 Five centuries later, the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement, compiled a rubric for interrupted prayer, breaking down the mind games that throw a supplicant off—from idle trivialities to impure impulses and personal struggles. Allan Ripp, WSJ, 20 May 2021 The firm evaluates each company by a rubric of five criteria including geography, category, diversity, stage and connection to Stanford, and looks to do further due diligence in companies with at least three of the qualifications. Rebecca Szkutak, Forbes, 17 May 2021 Instead, under the rubric of media art, works such as Zen for TV have been objectified, such that the TV performs Zen for us, not unlike a dog (or robot) doing a trick. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 28 May 2021 Under the rubric of post-quantum cryptography (PQC), these algorithms are also insurance against conventional cyberattacks. Arthur Herman, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Still, that commission offers us a useful rubric on how to study complex questions about consumer credit. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 18 Dec. 2020 Internal records show the rubric ended up classifying virtually all the country’s historically Black colleges in the lowest tier. New York Times, 1 May 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for rubric

Middle English rubrike red ocher, heading in red letters of part of a book, from Anglo-French, from Latin rubrica, from rubr-, ruber red

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The first known use of rubric was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rubric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for rubric



English Language Learners Definition of rubric

: a name or heading under which something is classified
: an explanation or a set of instructions at the beginning of a book, a test, etc.


ru·​bric | \ ˈrü-brik How to pronounce rubric (audio) \

Legal Definition of rubric

: an established rule, tradition, or custom

More from Merriam-Webster on rubric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rubric

Britannica English: Translation of rubric for Arabic Speakers


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