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 Classical scientific definitions of intelligence use humans as a yardstick by which all other species are measured. Gareth Cook, Scientific American, "A Poetic, Mind-Bending Tour of the Fungal World," 24 June 2020 The shape of the memory becomes the brain’s yardstick of time. Popular Science, "Time isn’t real. Here’s how people capitalized on that.," 30 May 2020 One crude yardstick for this is to track where its physical assets sit, as recorded in the filings of public tech businesses (see chart). The Economist, "Immaculate misconceptions America’s latest salvo against Huawei is aimed at chipmaking in China," 23 May 2020 Staff beat him on the ears, hands, and back with a yardstick and hit him with a strap made from a conveyor belt. Annie Hylton, Longreads, "Searching For Mackie," 12 Feb. 2020 Until streaming reached a critical mass, the yardstick for success for a TV series was at least four seasons of 22 episodes that would have an afterlife in syndication or on cable -- which would result in years of royalty payments for a composer. Kathryn Kranhold, Billboard, "TV and Film Composers Say Netflix, Other Streaming Services Insist on Buying Out Their Music Rights," 11 Dec. 2019 Every aspect of my life, character and relationships would be measured against the yardstick of my soft and growing body. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "What I Learned as an 11 Year Old in Weight Watchers," 30 Sep. 2019 The yardstick of wealth became the possession of modern commodities. Scientific American, "How Disaster Aid Ravaged an Island People," 25 Mar. 2020 Earlier in the day, a custodian used a yardstick and tape to place tables six feet apart on the gym floor, maintaining the social distancing that health officials are seeking. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Coronavirus: Students face uncertain school future as they gather lesson packets," 19 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for yardstick

Time Traveler

The first known use of yardstick was in 1610

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Statistics for yardstick

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Yardstick.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yardstick. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for yardstick


How to pronounce yardstick (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yardstick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yardstick

Spanish Central: Translation of yardstick

Nglish: Translation of yardstick for Spanish Speakers

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