Definition of measure in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɛʒə/


[with object]
1Ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units: the amount of water collected is measured in pints (as adjective measuring) measuring instruments
More example sentences
  • Either measure the amount in ounces or measure the depth of water in each jar.
  • A nautical instrument used to measure the altitude of stars and planets in the sky in order to determine a ship's exact direction.
  • Devices that measure the evaporation of water such as atmometers may be useful.
take the measurements of, calculate, compute, estimate, count, meter, quantify, weigh, size, evaluate, rate, assess, appraise, gauge, plumb, measure out, determine, judge, survey
survey, quantify, take the measurements of, weigh, appraise, determine;
estimate, count, meter
1.1Be of (a specified size or degree): the fabric measures 137 cm wide
More example sentences
  • An earthquake measuring 5.5 in magnitude rocked the region today.
  • That's no problem as the juicer measures a compact 15 inches high by ten inches wide, so it can fit easily into most kitchen cupboards or presses.
  • In October an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale struck Japan's Niigata prefecture.
1.2Ascertain the size and proportions of (someone) in order to make or provide clothes for them: he will be measured for his team blazer next week
More example sentences
  • They were tailors, and they promptly began measuring her for clothes.
  • It raised its rotting hands, mentally measuring Ben to see what size clothes he was best suited for.
  • I am going to measure you and then recommend a bra size.
1.3 (measure something out) Take an exact quantity of something: she helped to measure out the ingredients
More example sentences
  • However, compared to how much it costs to buy a small 1/2 lb block of chocolate normally, it turned out to be good value, and it keeps well if you store it in a cool dark place, not to mention the ease with which you can measure it out!
  • Mama took some time cutting the sugar-cake and I was certain it was because she was measuring it out, making sure everyone got the same sized piece.
  • I don't measure them out in coffee spoons, you know.
mark off, mark the boundaries/limits of, measure out, demarcate, delimit, delineate, outline, describe, define, stake out
pour out, dole out, deal out;
dispense, administer, issue
2Assess the importance, effect, or value of (something): it is hard to measure teaching ability
More example sentences
  • Many corporations are recognizing the importance of measuring a variety of factors, says Hoog.
  • It's very hard for me to measure the success of that.
  • Contemporary buildings have long lost their ability to accurately measure the urban significance of what they hold.
choose carefully, select with care, consider, think carefully about, plan, calculate
2.1 (measure someone/thing against) Judge someone or something by comparison with (a certain standard): she did not need to measure herself against some ideal
More example sentences
  • In 50 years' time, will we still be measuring educational standards against O-levels?
  • Districts choose from commercially available standardized tests to measure students against national norms.
  • He set standards that all great bowlers are measured against.
compare with, contrast with, put into competition with;
pit, set, match, test, judge
2.2 [no object] (measure up) Reach the required or expected standard: I’m afraid we didn’t measure up to the standards they set
More example sentences
  • I had been making my first movie in my head for so long, I don't think anything would have measured up to my standards.
  • If the milk measures up to quality standards, it is hooked up to a receiving pump, passed through a filter and forwarded to one of six silos depending on its composition.
  • The table below shows how the United States measures up to this simple standard of fairness.
come up to standard, achieve the required standard, fulfil expectations, fit/fill the bill, pass muster, do well;
be capable, be acceptable, be satisfactory, be adequate, be suitable
informal come up to scratch, make the grade, cut the mustard, be up to snuff
achieve, meet, come up to, equal, be equal to, match, rival, vie with, bear comparison with, be on a level with, serve, satisfy, fulfil, comply with
2.3 (measure someone up) Scrutinize someone in order to form an assessment of them: the two shook hands and silently measured each other up
More example sentences
  • I looked at the family more closely because I could tell that they were measuring me up.
  • Narrowed brown eyes studied her, measuring her up.
  • She glared at Ellee, measuring her up with her own angry eyes.
3 archaic Travel over (a certain distance or area): we must measure twenty miles today


1A plan or course of action taken to achieve a particular purpose: cost-cutting measures children were evacuated as a precautionary measure
More example sentences
  • A company spokesman said no further cost-cutting measures were planned for its Irish operations.
  • It said cost-cutting measures and cost control remain the focus for more than one-third of organisations in 2004.
  • Banks will also be asked to draw up measures to achieve gender equality, and agree a plan for achieving targets.
action, act, course, course of action, deed, proceeding, procedure, step, means, expedient;
manoeuvre, initiative, programme, operation, control, legal action
1.1A legislative bill: the Senate passed the measure by a 48-30 vote
More example sentences
  • Yet the odds are against the measure as legislated policy.
  • In this tidal wave of deregulatory measures, the anti-discrimination legislation escaped almost unscathed.
  • German chancellor Gerhard Schroder announced that his cabinet would soon pass measures to outlaw Islamic organisations deemed to have abused their religious status.
2A standard unit used to express the size, amount, or degree of something: a furlong is an obsolete measure of length tables of weights and measures
More example sentences
  • Most confusing are the measures of kilos, hectares, kilometers, centimeters, and grams.
  • It was an old one, with weight and measures on the top.
  • Invariable uniformity of value in the currency, has a relation to the interests of the people, similar to that of uniformity of weights and measures.
system, standard, units, scale
2.1 [mass noun] A system or scale of units expressing size, amount, or degree of something: the dimensions were in imperial measure
More example sentences
  • Often the two sets of data have very different scales of measure, so a bar graph would not work.
2.2A standard quantity or amount: heavy drinking may be five measures of spirits per day
More example sentences
  • Don't let the late-night munchies make you pay £1.50 for a Mars bar or £6 for a single measure of spirits.
portion, quantity, amount, quota, ration, allowance, allocation
2.3A container of standard capacity used for taking fixed amounts of a substance: gifts have included silver measures from a whisky company
2.4A graduated rod or tape used for ascertaining the size of something: most schools had only metric measures available
ruler, tape measure, rule, gauge, meter, scale, level, yardstick
3A certain quantity or degree of something: the states retain a large measure of independence
More example sentences
  • This they did with a fair measure of success from the 1940s through to the 1970s.
  • Well, if we're all still speaking at the end and the PIC site is being accessed and used, we have a good measure of success.
  • There was more than one instance where claws sunk into soft tissue and offered them a small measure of success.
certain amount, amount, degree, quantity
3.1An indication of the degree, extent, or quality of something: his resignation is a measure of how angry he is
More example sentences
  • It would at least have given a clear measure of the extent of anti-agreement sentiment in the unionist community.
  • It is a measure of the quality you can expect to hear, however, that whatever you pay to see them will probably be worth it.
  • I'm happy to accept this wager as a measure of the quality of my predictions about the long term sustainability of commons-based peer production.
4The rhythm of a piece of poetry or a piece of music.
Example sentences
  • The golden measure of poetry does not yet exist, only the rhythm of the maracas, the exact sound of the kettledrum.
  • The show coasted on sheer mastery of compas, the rhythmic measure that defines all flamenco, and on the charisma of the artists probing the art's dark and light moods.
4.1A particular metrical unit or group: measures of two or three syllables are more frequent in English prose
4.2North American A bar of music or the time of a piece of music.
Example sentences
  • Play the last four notes of each measure staccato, or make a crescendo into the next measure.
  • We sense the tragedy of the poetic ballad and the noble lineage of its characters in the very opening measures of the musical rendering.
  • There are rarely more than four measures of music without a voice-over.
4.3 archaic A dance, typically one that is stately: now tread we a measure!
More example sentences
  • The birds twitter, the horn calls back, the mountain folk dance a droll measure, and all's right with the Alpine world.
  • Ben watched with amazement that turned to pride as Hoss delicately guided Alberta Evans into the first few measures of the dance.
  • Ian laughed lightly and then swept her into the first measure of the dance.
dance, step, caper, hop
5 (measures) [with modifier] A group of rock strata.
6 Mathematics A quantity contained in another an exact number of times; a divisor.
7 Printing The width of a full line of type or print, typically expressed in picas.



beyond measure

To a very great extent: she felt weary beyond measure
More example sentences
  • The previous night had rendered me absolutely useless, as I had stayed up all night working on the next-to-last chapter of my book, and was exhausted beyond measure.
  • Relieved beyond measure, he downed the pill gratefully.
  • It was perverse beyond measure, but it was not selfish.

for good measure

In addition to what has already been done or said: he added a couple of chillies for good measure
More example sentences
  • All the major hits are here with a couple of new tracks thrown in for good measure.
  • He didn't let the weakness last long; he shoved me again for good measure.
  • There's even some romance thrown in for good measure.

get (or take or have) the measure of

Assess or have assessed the character or abilities of (someone or something): he’s got her measure—she won’t fool him
More example sentences
  • Until we can break through that, we can't take the measure of what is really representative.
  • We spend a lot of time evaluating and taking the measure of markets.
  • Doing so would make it easier to find the criminals and to take the measure of any systemic threats.
evaluate, assess, gauge, judge, weigh up;
understand, fathom, read, be wise to, not be deceived by, see through
informal have someone's number, not fall for, know someone's (little) game

hard measure

archaic Punishment or retribution inflicted on someone.

in —— measure

To the degree specified: his style was rough and elegant in equal measure
More example sentences
  • This is in large measure due to the feeling that the rules of behaviour in international affairs are in the process of being re-written.
  • Admiration and irritation are often expressed in equal measure.
  • Somehow, it manages to move me and make me laugh in equal measure.

measure one's length

dated (Of a person) fall flat on the ground: he uttered a groan and measured his length in the dust
More example sentences
  • Oreste stumbles, recovers, stumbles again - and measures his length on the ground in a dead faint.

measure one's words

Consider carefully what one says: I had better measure my words so as not to embarrass anyone
More example sentences
  • He measures his words carefully as he turns the hide over in his hands.
  • What a difference it would make if we measured our words more carefully.
  • Today I shall try to measure my words very carefully.

measure of capacity

A standard unit of volume used for containers, liquids, and substances such as grain.
Example sentences
  • @ was originally used as shorthand for ‘amphora’, a measure of capacity based on terracotta jars used to transport grain and wine in the ancient Mediterranean world.

in no small measure

To a very great extent: he contributed in no small measure to their success
More example sentences
  • His skill as a helmsman contributed in no small measure to his success.
  • The success of this project is due in no small measure to the fountain of goodwill and support from many quarters.
  • It was a resounding success due in no small measure to Tim's dedicated efforts, and those of the Committee.

take measures

Take action to achieve a particular purpose: they took measures to improve performance
More example sentences
  • They would restrict the ability of governments to regulate foreign investment or to take measures to develop local enterprises.
  • On its side the presidium of the congress decided to take measures.
  • In such circumstances Iraq has every right to take measures to defend itself.



Example sentences
  • There is a scale in one corner, beside a tape measurer.
  • I'd love to tell you more details about how she operates in the kitchen - whether she is a precise measurer or just a chop-it-and-toss-it-in-the-bowl kind of cook - but she threw me out of the kitchen.
  • The measurer grips the tape and holds it up before him to look at the numbers.


Middle English (as a noun in the senses 'moderation', 'instrument for measuring', 'unit of capacity'): from Old French mesure, from Latin mensura, from mens- 'measured', from the verb metiri.

  • moon from Old English:

    The words moon, month, and measure (Middle English) all go back to the same ancient root. Since the earliest times people have looked at the full moon and seen a face or figure there, which has been identified as the man in the moon since the Middle Ages. The patterns on the moon's disc were formerly also seen as a man leaning on a fork and carrying a bundle of sticks or as a man with his dog and a thorn bush, while other cultures have seen a rabbit, hare, frog, or other animal. The expression over the moon, ‘extremely happy’, though it goes back to the early 18th century, is now particularly associated with post-match remarks from victorious footballers and football managers (along with its opposite, sick as a parrot). The origins of it lie in a nursery rhyme beginning ‘Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon’. The distance and unattainability of the moon is behind such phrases as to cry for the moon ‘to ask for what is impossible or unattainable’ and to promise someone the moon. For a dog to bark at the moon is a singularly pointless act, and people have used it to express futility since the mid 17th century. See also blue

Words that rhyme with measure

leisure, made-to-measure, pleasure, treasure

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: meas|ure

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