noun ru·bric \ ˈrü-brik , -ˌbrik \
|Updated on: 4 Jul 2018

Definition of rubric

1 a : 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


or rubrical play \ˈrü-bri-kəl\ adjective


play \ˈrü-bri-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of rubric in a Sentence

  1. the rubrics at the beginning of the chapters are intended to be humorous

  2. the rubric, popular among jewelers anyway, that a man should spend a month's salary on his fiancée's engagement ring

Recent Examples of rubric from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

RUBRIC Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of rubric for English Language Learners

  • : 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.

Law Dictionary


noun ru·bric \ ˈrü-brik \

legal Definition of rubric

: an established rule, tradition, or custom

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