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

Yet an important stock market yardstick — the price-earnings ratio — suggests investors have an almost unquestioning faith in Netflix’s ability to notch fast-growing earnings. Peter Eavis, The Seattle Times, "Netflix keeps adding subscribers, and market investors could profit," 16 Oct. 2018 Real wealth, the most familiar yardstick, accounts for the relative purchasing power of a particular sum by adjusting it for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Is Jeff Bezos Really the Richest of Them All?," 10 Aug. 2018 And Wall Street measures Tesla by a different yardstick. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Why Companies Have the Urge to Merge," 15 June 2018 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

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

28 Nov 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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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

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).


a knickknack or trinket

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