Metric | Definition of Metric by Merriam-Webster


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Definition of metric

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 metrics plural : a part of prosody that deals with metrical (see metrical sense 1) structure the analytical study of metric— T. S. Eliot
2 : a standard of measurement no metric exists that can be applied directly to happinessScientific Monthly
3 : a mathematical function that associates a real nonnegative number analogous to distance with each pair of elements in a set such that the number is zero only if the two elements are identical, the number is the same regardless of the order in which the two elements are taken, and the number associated with one pair of elements plus that associated with one member of the pair and a third element is equal to or greater than the number associated with the other member of the pair and the third element



Definition of metric (Entry 2 of 3)

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study
variants: or -metrical

Definition of -metric (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, employing, or obtained by (such) a meter galvanometric
2 : of or relating to (such) an art, process, or science of measuring geometrical

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Did You Know?

The metric system was invented in France in the years following the French Revolution, and a version of it is now used in most of the world to measure distance, weight, and volume. Basic metric units include the kilogram (the basic unit of weight), the liter (the basic unit of volume), and of course the meter (the basic unit of length—see below). Metric—or more often metrical—can also refer to the basic underlying rhythm of songs and poetry. So while the scientists' measurements are usually metric, the poets' are usually metrical.

Examples of metric in a Sentence

Noun according to the usual metrics by which we judge fiction, this novel is an utter failure Adjective The metric unit of energy is the “joule.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pfizer expects to get two months of safety follow-up data, a key metric required by U.S. regulators before an emergency authorization is granted, in the third week in November. Riley Griffin, Fortune, "Pfizer and BioNTech take the lead after study shows their vaccine prevents 90% of infections," 9 Nov. 2020 Omnicom’s world-wide organic revenue—a key metric that strips out currency effects and acquisitions—decreased 11.7%, driven in part by steep declines at two customer relationship marketing divisions. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Ad Giant Omnicom Reports 11.5% Revenue Drop in Third Quarter," 27 Oct. 2020 The state’s key metric under Herbert’s plan — a coronavirus death rate of less than 1% — was at 0.69%, possibly kept down by the large numbers of new cases among young and lower-risk patients. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah reports another record high number of new coronavirus cases, with 1,411 on Friday," 25 Sep. 2020 Second-quarter North American same-store sales, a key metric in the fast food and quick-serve segment, increased 28%. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Papa John's creating new global headquarters in Atlanta, shifting some jobs out of Louisville," 17 Sep. 2020 Hospitalizations, a key metric, now are similar to levels of early May, when the state was in the midst of a shutdown. Alex Putterman,, "Gov. Lamont faces growing pressure to close Connecticut businesses as coronavirus cases rise," 10 Dec. 2020 While Parler's daily active users, a key metric of how engaged people are in the service, remains higher than before the election, the number is decreasing, Apptopia says. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Conservatives flocked to Parler after the election. But its explosive growth is over," 10 Dec. 2020 The percentage of available intensive care unit beds — a key metric that government officials are watching closely — continued to fall across California. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 4-9," 10 Dec. 2020 And this election beat 2008 in another key metric: participation among all eligible voters. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "November election’s high turnout with few problems points toward an all-mail future," 5 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The number of patients on ventilators set a record for that metric as it's reported in the Health Department's daily updates, but was below the high of 211 patients that the department reported on its online dashboard as of Nov. 30. Jeannie Roberts, Arkansas Online, "Virus cases rise by 3,184; prisons go on 'lockdown'," 31 Dec. 2020 The KenPom metric predicts the score of every Division I game and forecasts USD winning just twice in 16 WCC games. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Junior guard becomes leader for Toreros," 30 Dec. 2020 The post also says that the state's lockdowns led to the unemployment of 415,000 more Illinoisans, but again, that’s not the metric that Illinois Policy Institute used. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Post linking Illinois' COVID-19 lockdowns, income tax is missing context," 29 Dec. 2020 This story has been updated every day of this year by visual journalist Adelaide Chen, who has also spent 2020 tirelessly tracking every metric available related to the pandemic and creating graphics for print and the web to illustrate the crisis. Tiffini Theisen,, "These were the most-read stories on in 2020," 28 Dec. 2020 Under the metric, counties must ensure that positive test rates in their most disadvantaged neighborhoods do not significantly exceed the county’s overall positive rate. Tatiana Sanchez,, "How the Bay Area’s latest coronavirus surge is hitting low-income communities of color," 27 Dec. 2020 Removing just a single metric gigaton of carbon per year would require a land area bigger than Texas. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Carbon Capture Is Not a Climate Savior," 24 Dec. 2020 This move away from the test positivity metric—usually calculated as the number of Covid-19 tests that come out positive divided by the number of tests done—is significant. Joanne Silberner, Wired, "Test Positivity Is a Bad Way to Measure Covid’s Spread," 22 Dec. 2020 In turn, these two general categories were divided into 19 indicators, such as volunteer hours per capita, with each metric measured on a 100-point scale, according to WalletHub. The Center Square, Washington Examiner, "Arizona earns lowest score in ranking of charitable giving," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'metric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of metric


1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1862, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for metric


metric "metrical art, prosody" (in part borrowed from Late Latin metrica —short for ars metrica "metrical art"— from feminine of Latin metricus "metrical, rhythmic," borrowed from Greek metrikós; in part borrowed from Greek metrikḗ —short for metrikḕ téchnē "metrical craft"— or metriká, from, respectively, feminine singular and neuter plural of metrikós "by measurement, metrical") + -ics; (sense 2-3) probably noun derivative of metric "of measurement," earliest in mathematical use, probably after German Metrik — more at metrical


borrowed from French métrique, from mètre meter entry 3 + -ique -ic entry 1

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Time Traveler for metric

Time Traveler

The first known use of metric was in 1760

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Statistics for metric

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Metric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for metric



English Language Learners Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Kids Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or based on the metric system metric measurements


met·​ric | \ ˈme-trik How to pronounce metric (audio) \

Medical Definition of metric

: of, relating to, or using the metric system a metric study

Other Words from metric

metrically \ -​tri-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce metric (audio) \ adverb

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