A stick a yard long used to measure things - a long ruler. Also, figuratively, something which is a standard to which other things are compared, or something which is a measure of a given quantity. For instance, an IQ test is considered to be a yardstick of intelligence.

Yard"stick` (?), n.

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

 

© Webster 1913.

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