yard·​stick | \ ˈyärd-ˌstik How to pronounce yardstick (audio) \

Definition of yardstick

1a : a graduated measuring stick three feet (0.9144 meter) long
b : a standard basis of calculation a yardstick for measuring astronomical distances
2 : a standard for making a critical judgment : criterion measured by the yardstick of her first book was a great success by any yardstick

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Choose the Right Synonym for yardstick

standard, criterion, gauge, yardstick, touchstone mean a means of determining what a thing should be. standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority. standards of behavior criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not. questioned the critic's criteria for excellence gauge applies to a means of testing a particular dimension (such as thickness, depth, diameter) or figuratively a particular quality or aspect. polls as a gauge of voter dissatisfaction yardstick is an informal substitute for criterion that suggests quantity more often than quality. housing construction as a yardstick of economic growth touchstone suggests a simple test of the authenticity or value of something intangible. fine service is one touchstone of a first-class restaurant

Examples of yardstick in a Sentence

Some feel that test scores aren't an adequate yardstick for judging a student's ability. Ratings are the yardstick by which TV shows are evaluated by networks.

Recent Examples on the Web

Which sure sounds like basically nowhere, at least as measured by the yardstick of 1969’s great expectations. National Geographic, "Countdown to a new era inSpace," 17 June 2019 One yardstick measuring stock swings, the Cboe Volatility Index, has fallen 40% in 2019, on pace for its biggest annual decline in a decade. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Markets Send Mixed Signals on Trade Battle," 16 June 2019 Cultural fit, or comfort with the company’s prevailing values and beliefs, is one traditional yardstick, but that approach risks building a workforce that lacks diversity and is slow to innovate or question the status quo. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Companies Hire on Potential—If Only They Knew What That Meant," 12 Mar. 2019 Using a 20 percent threshold as a yardstick for booms and busts in chip stocks, the sector has experienced the longest bull markets in its history over the past six years. Jeran Wittenstein, The Seattle Times, "Record chip stock rally is fraying, reviving painful memories," 10 Sep. 2018 The lower 48 states make up only 1.6 percent of the globe, so what’s happening there at any particular time is not a yardstick of the planet’s climate. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s untruths on Russia probe, wall, jobs," 6 Feb. 2019 For decades, the main yardstick in antitrust cases has been consumer welfare, which often boils down to prices. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Big Buyers Beware the New Trustbusters," 28 Dec. 2018 One yardstick to assess the potential is the U.K., where a quarter of cats and dogs are insured, according to Laura Bennett, a pet insurance actuary and fellow of the Society of Actuaries. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "As Veterinary Bills Add Up, More Pet Owners Opt for Insurance," 24 Aug. 2018 Windows 95 is the operating system that’s now used as a yardstick for what’s possible on modern devices and platforms. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Windows 95 is now an app you can download and install on macOS, Windows, and Linux," 23 Aug. 2018

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

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near yardstick

yard of land

yard rope

yard sale


yard tackle



Statistics for yardstick

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for yardstick

The first known use of yardstick was in 1610

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More Definitions for yardstick



English Language Learners Definition of yardstick

: a long, flat tool that is one yard long and is used to measure things
: a rule or specific idea about what is acceptable or desirable that is used to judge or measure something


yard·​stick | \ ˈyärd-ˌstik How to pronounce yardstick (audio) \

Kids Definition of yardstick

1 : a measuring stick a yard long
2 : a rule or standard by which something is measured or judged His story by any yardstick was dull.

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More from Merriam-Webster on yardstick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yardstick

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yardstick

Spanish Central: Translation of yardstick

Nglish: Translation of yardstick for Spanish Speakers

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