from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A graduated measuring stick one yard in length.
  • n. A test or standard used in measurement, comparison, or judgment. See Synonyms at standard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A measuring rod thirty-six inches long.
  • n. A standard to which other measurements or comparisons are judged.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A stick three feet, or a yard, in length, used as a measure of cloth, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A stick or rod exactly 3 feet long, generally marked with subdivisions, as quarters and eighths of the yard on the one side, and inches, or perhaps feet and inches, on the other. See yard, n., 3, 4.
  • n.
  • n. Figuratively, a standard of measurement in general.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ruler or tape that is three feet long
  • n. a measure or standard used for comparison


yard +‎ stick (Wiktionary)


  • I got involved because I think people shouldn't be denied access to opportunity based on criteria that have nothing to do with their abilities -- whether the yardstick is the color of their skin or the economic circumstances of their parents (or, of course, their gender).

    Paula Goldman: No, Seriously... What About Men?

  • I was responding to the statement that English speakers don't like Spanish speakers and trying to convey that Americans who judge everything by a certain yardstick just don't understand what they are seeing when they see illegals doing certain things.

    The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico

  • And the $7.2 million yardstick is short, too, because in many cases “those killed in Iraq were young men and women in peak physical condition, at the beginning of their working lives.

    Pentagon Stiffs Families of Dead and Wounded Vets

  • But as my colleague, Philippe, says, the yardstick is the number of deaths, and the fact is that American soldiers are still dying here, and Iraqis are still dying here from attacks by people who don't want this to work.

    CNN Transcript Oct 17, 2003

  • Will that selection be historically accurate if the yardstick is the person who had the biggest impact on the world or would it be absolutely outrageous?

    CNN Transcript Dec 2, 2001

  • The yardstick should be the improvement of conditions of life for all our people, better wages for workers particularly those in the public sector.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • And depending on their position in the yardstick is their response.

  • Obama says the "yardstick" should be the leader in delegates and popular vote.

    Dean: Super-Delegates Don't Have To Follow The Voters

  • Clinton says the "yardstick" should be big states that voted for her, or the fact the the GOP will tear apart a candidate with a scary black minister.

    Dean: Super-Delegates Don't Have To Follow The Voters

  • They denounced proposals to use publicly owned electric production facilities as a "yardstick" to measure the actual cost of producing electricity and thus to determine whether private power companies were overcharging their customers.

    Robert S. McElvaine: Echoes of a Distant Crash


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