STANDARD, a term with three main meanings: (i) an ensign or flag; (2) a fixed weight, measure, value or quality established by law or customarily recognized as a unit of comparison by which the correctness of others can be determined; (3) an upright or standing object, such as a large candelabrum, or, particularly, a fruit-tree which stands without support. With regard to the derivation, the word which appears in most European languages, e.g. Du. standaard, Ger. Standarte, O. Fr. eslandart, estendard, mod. etendard, Ital. stendale, steiidardo, etc., is to be referred to the Teut. standan, to stand, and refers to the fixed pole to which an object or a pole was attached. The " standard " as a military ensign was properly stationary and served as the signal of the position of its owner on the ordered field of battle. The O. Fr. form estendard points to the influence of Lat. extendere, to spread out, extend, of the flag when hung upon the pole (see further FLAG for the various meanings of the word and its history). The use of the term for a recognized unit of comparison is due probably to the fact that it is something fixed or set up, stable, and not to any fanciful reference to the ensign or flag as the object to which one turns as a rallying-point. For the standard weights and measures see WEIGHTS AND MEASURES and STANDARDS DEPARTMENT below. There are many other standards, such as electrical standards (see ELECTRICITY), standard solutions in chemistry (q.v.) for the purpose of volumetric analysis, etc. In engineering, the component parts of machines or other structures are " standardized " in accordance with agreed measurements. For " standard time " see TIME, STANDARD.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)