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 rubrical (audio) \ adjective
rubrically \ ˈrü-​bri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce rubrically (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 What’s more, the lags in income distribution between black and white American families are key precursors to the cross-generational disparities in racial property-holding tracked under the rubric of the wealth gap. Adolph Reed Jr., The New Republic, "The Surprising Cross-Racial Saga of Modern Wealth Inequality," 29 June 2020 Unfortunately, the rubric by which packet readers evaluate your worth is proprietary information. Ronald Metellus, The New Yorker, "Diversity Fellowship Accepting Applications for the Next Five Minutes," 19 June 2020 Black people are measured on a different rubric than white people, based on rationale that dates back to when physicians on plantations used the tool to unjustly rationalize why slaves were fit only for field labor. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, "‘The direct result of racism’: Covid-19 lays bare how discrimination drives health disparities among Black people," 9 June 2020 Everything just mentioned falls under this rubric: the ecology and evolutionary biology of zoonotic diseases. David Quammen, Popular Science, "Where will the next pandemic come from?," 15 Oct. 2012 Now coronavirus might shutter her NuLu business There's no rubric for telling thousands about a pandemic. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Meet Virginia, the silent partner in Kentucky’s modern-day fireside chats with Gov. Beshear," 24 Mar. 2020 In his rubric, the first considerations are odds of survival and expected length of treatment. Sheri Fink,, "The hardest questions doctors may face: Who will be saved? Who won’t?," 21 Mar. 2020 At scale, this is impossible and rubrics are imperative. Cate Huston, Quartz at Work, "Three signs of a poor hiring process—and four ways to fix it," 10 Mar. 2020 And so there's a whole existing rubric by which victims are notified of network compromises. CBS News, "Transcript: Shelby Pierson talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 22 Jan. 2020

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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rubric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for rubric


How to pronounce rubric (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rubric

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rubric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rubric

Britannica English: Translation of rubric for Arabic Speakers

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