Definition of touchstone in English:

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touchstone

Pronunciation: /ˈtəCHˌstōn/

noun

1A piece of fine-grained dark schist or jasper formerly used for testing alloys of gold by observing the color of the mark that they made on it.
Example sentences
  • Small black stones were used as touchstones to test the colour, and hence purity, of gold.
  • ‘To touch’ in reference to fine metals such as gold refers to the touchstone used to test the purity of the metal.
  • The same example can be cited: in spite of producing unlimited quantities of gold, the touchstone remains the same.
1.1A standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized: they tend to regard grammar as the touchstone of all language performance
More example sentences
  • We see the standard touchstones - the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock - but we also see the streets, Jerusalem as a town, a city where Jews and Arabs both live.
  • By the Second World War the toleration of COs had begun to be recognized as a touchstone of mature liberalism.
  • Nor has he challenged the appellant's case that the requirements of the Convention provide a touchstone for judging the rationality of his decision and the policy pursuant to which it was reached.
Synonyms
criterion, standard, yardstick, benchmark, barometer, bellwether, litmus test;
measure, point of reference, norm, gauge, test, guide, exemplar, model, pattern

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: touch·stone

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