yard·stick | \ˈyärd-ˌstik \

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

By this yardstick, the currency has lost 99.9% of its value in almost no time. The Economist, "Venezuela’s currency plumbs unknown depths," 25 Jan. 2018 Measuring these mammoths is best done using the yardstick of profits relative to GDP. The Economist, "History’s biggest firms," 5 July 2018 My own yardstick was to put this in the context of the various LMP1 hybrids exiting the final corner at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "7:57:148—Volkswagen makes racing history with record-breaking electric race car," 29 June 2018 Using the median of the yardsticks, its tech industry is 42% as powerful as America’s. The Economist, "SchumpeterHow does Chinese tech stack up against American tech?," 15 Feb. 2018 Argentines have long regarded the peso’s strength against the dollar, which is widely used for savings and property transactions, as a yardstick for their country’s economic performance. The Economist, "Argentina’s currency crisis is far from over," 5 July 2018 Total trade at the seaport, using the dollar yardstick, was up 6.91 percent and totaled $6.26 billion during the first quarter. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "A new trade record is on the horizon for PortMiami in 2018 | Miami Herald," 10 May 2018 Brent, the global price yardstick, is close to $80 a barrel. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "To Head Off Rising Crude Prices, It May Take More Than Calls for More Oil," 1 July 2018 Astronomers also use light emitted by supernovas as a sort of cosmic yardstick to understand how quickly the universe is expanding. NBC News, "5 ways the world's fastest supercomputer could change the world," 18 June 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

3 Oct 2018

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 \

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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Comments on yardstick

What made you want to look up yardstick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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