Yard vs. Yardstick

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Yard vs. Yardstick

To keep it brief, the short answer is yes! The word “yardstick” is derived from the primary meaning of the word “yard”. Let's check out both below in detail, to understand more.

When do we use “yard”?

“Yard” has three different definitions, and all of them function as nouns. So, first and foremost, a “yard” is a unit used for measuring length. More specifically, one “yard” equals 3 feet, or 0.9144 meters.

As a secondary meaning, “yard” is also used to define an area of land behind or in front of a house – this is the word mainly used for US English, and its equivalent in UK English is “garden”.

And last but not least, “yard” can also define a small area of ground right next to a house or a building, usually surrounded by a wall or a fence.

Here are some quick examples to illustrate all these definitions clearly:

Example 1: You have to walk about one yard from here to get to the church. – “yard” is a unit for measuring length, equal to three feet or 0.9144m.

Example 2: They planted some flowers and vegetables in the small yard in front of their house. – a “yard” can be the area of land belonging to a house.

Example 3: Let your children play in the yard, they will be safe – lastly, a “yard” may also refer to the area of ground next to a building.

When do we use “yardstick”?

“Yardstick” has two definitions and both derive from the primary definition of “yard,” referring to a measurement.

Firstly, a “yardstick” is an actual stick! A measuring device measuring three foot long - exactly the length of a yard - 0.9144 meters. So here we can clearly see the precise connection between the two words.

Another use of the word “yardstick” is a way of measuring success, or judging something by a certain minimum standard - a yardstick is a non-specific measure used to judge how successful or good something is.

Example: If money was the yardstick for happiness, I’d say he’s a very happy man. – “yardstick” is used as a way of judging how successful or how good something else is.


If you keep in mind that “yardstick” comes from the word “yard” you’ll easily remember the association between the two - a unit of measure.

But, as a quick go-to solution, feel free to come back here and check this article anytime you need a reminder or in-detail explanation for your confusion regarding “yard” and “yardstick”.

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