gold standard

A gold standard is when gold is used as the basis for a monetary system. It’s also any excellent example of something, like how Olympians are the gold standard for athletes.

Originally, a gold standard was literal — it referred to gold being the official measure of money. Money was valued in reference to the gold standard. Gold is no longer used in this way, though it's still valuable, so the term has taken on a looser meaning. The gold standard of something is simply a great or excellent example. A gold standard is the best of the best.

Definitions of gold standard
  1. noun
    a monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is defined by a stated quantity of gold
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    type of:
    monetary standard, standard
    the value behind the money in a monetary system
  2. noun
    a paragon of excellence
    “academic education is the gold standard against which other educational activity is pejoratively judged”
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    type of:
    beau ideal, idol, paragon, perfection
    an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept
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