ru·​bric | \ˈrü-brik, -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 \ adjective
rubrically \ˈrü-​bri-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Board members also approved new Superintendent Denise Juneau’s evaluation rubric, and a $350,000 grant from the city (funded by the sweetened-beverage tax) to expand a fresh-fruits-and-vegetables program at 19 low-income schools. Dahlia Bazzaz, The Seattle Times, "Seattle School Board gives final approval for 10.5 percent raises in new teacher contract," 18 Sep. 2018 The new rubric, which was released Tuesday, attempts to explain in plain English and more detail how Facebook thinks about its seemingly reluctant role as a regulator. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "For the first time, Facebook clearly tells its users what’s allowed," 24 Apr. 2018 The standards board also plans to create free rubrics and study guides for test takers. Ally Marotti,, "Companies in need of data scientists look to standardized test for hiring help," 5 July 2018 Each of those questions has three possible answers, and the current, unfinished rubric showed some vague answers. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Cyberpunk 2077 world premiere: 50 minutes of William Gibson-level insanity," 14 June 2018 The Sentencing Commission has spent eight years developing its potential rubric. Chris Palmer,, "Dozens of speakers at hearing assail Pa. plan to use algorithm in sentencing," 6 June 2018 Remember, this is our five-category rubric for sorting midterm races. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Dem divides emerge," 23 May 2018 Hurst will learn to make plays with the QB who finished 36th in Pro Football Focus' big-time throw percentage (the most difficult and valuable attempts in their rubric). Jacob Feldman,, "Awkwardness Already in Baltimore," 7 May 2018 The production has some strengths, including Holland’s vocal performance and a whole cast of very capable actors and musicians, but somehow the actual band practice, the reality-style rubric of the show, drowns out too much of the pain in the room. Chris Jones,, "In '33 to Nothing' at A Red Orchid, a rock band hits the skids," 23 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near rubric

rub out

rub rail






Statistics for rubric

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for rubric

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

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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 \

Legal Definition of rubric 

: an established rule, tradition, or custom

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More from Merriam-Webster on rubric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rubric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rubric

Britannica English: Translation of rubric for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rubric

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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