A standard is an ideal or set of criteria that you use to judge things against. Colleges have certain standards for applicants, like a minimum SAT score or an above average grade point average.

If you complain that the soup isn't up to your standard, you're comparing it to an ideal and finding it lacking. (Just don't be surprised if the chef then "accidentally" spills it in your lap.) The economy used to work by the gold standard, where one dollar equaled a fixed amount of gold. A standard can also be a military flag or banner on a pole. Or a popular old song that's considered a classic.

Definitions of standard
  1. noun
    a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated
    “the schools comply with federal standards
    synonyms: criterion, measure, touchstone
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    a standard by which something can be measured or judged
    ERA, earned run average
    (baseball) a measure of a pitcher's effectiveness; calculated as the average number of earned runs allowed by the pitcher for every nine innings pitched
    GPA, grade point average
    a measure of a student's academic achievement at a college or university; calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number attempted
    procrustean bed, procrustean rule, procrustean standard
    a standard that is enforced uniformly without regard to individuality
    a measure or standard used for comparison
    medium of exchange, monetary system
    anything that is generally accepted as a standard of value and a measure of wealth in a particular country or region
    graduated table, ordered series, scale, scale of measurement
    an ordered reference standard
    gauge, standard of measurement
    accepted or approved instance or example of a quantity or quality against which others are judged or measured or compared
    an imaginary line or standard by which things are measured or compared
    a standard or model or pattern regarded as typical
    legal tender, stamp, tender
    something that can be used as an official medium of payment
    the most common medium of exchange; functions as legal tender
    the metal or paper medium of exchange that is presently used
    Beaufort scale, wind scale
    an international scale of wind force from 0 (calm air) to 12 (hurricane)
    a numerical scale used to compare variables with one another or with some reference number
    logarithmic scale
    scale on which actual distances from the origin are proportional to the logarithms of the corresponding scale numbers
    Mercalli scale
    a scale formerly used to describe the magnitude of an earthquake; an earthquake detected only by seismographs is a I and an earthquake that destroys all buildings is a XII
    Mohs scale
    a scale of hardness of solids; talc is 0 and diamond is 10; ordering is determined by which substance can scratch another substance
    Richter scale
    a logarithmic scale of 1 to 10 formerly used to express the magnitude of an earthquake on the basis of the size of seismograph oscillations
    moment magnitude scale
    a logarithmic scale of 1 to 10 (a successor to the Richter scale) that enables seismologists to compare the energy released by different earthquakes on the basis of the area of the geological fault that ruptured in the quake
    temperature scale
    a system of measuring temperature
    wage scale, wage schedule
    a schedule of wages paid for different jobs
    type of:
    metric, system of measurement
    a system of related measures that facilitates the quantification of some particular characteristic
  2. noun
    the ideal in terms of which something can be judged
    “they live by the standards of their community”
    synonyms: criterion
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    control, control condition
    a standard against which other conditions can be compared in a scientific experiment
    design criteria
    criteria that designers should meet in designing some system or device
    type of:
    the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain
  3. noun
    the value behind the money in a monetary system
    synonyms: monetary standard
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    gold standard
    a monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is defined by a stated quantity of gold
    silver standard
    a monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is defined by a stated quantity of silver
    a monetary standard under which the basic unit of currency is defined by stated amounts of two metals (usually gold and silver) with values set at a predetermined ratio
    type of:
    the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable
  4. adjective
    conforming to or constituting a standard of measurement or value; or of the usual or regularized or accepted kind
    “windows of standard width”
    standard sizes”
    “the standard fixtures”
    standard brands”
    standard operating procedure”
    conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal
    constructed with standardized units or dimensions allowing flexibility and variety in use
    conforming to a standard or pattern
    prescribed by or according to regulation
    standardised, standardized
    brought into conformity with a standard
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    varying from or not adhering to a standard
    deficient, inferior, substandard
    falling short of some prescribed norm
    not based on a norm
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  5. adjective
    established or well-known or widely recognized as a model of authority or excellence
    “a standard reference work”
    mainstream, orthodox
    adhering to what is commonly accepted
    authoritative, classic, classical, definitive
    of recognized authority or excellence
    basic, canonic, canonical
    reduced to the simplest and most significant form possible without loss of generality
    casebook, textbook
    according to or characteristic of a casebook or textbook; typical
    criterial, criterional
    serving as a basis for evaluation
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    not standard; not accepted as a model of excellence
  6. adjective
    commonly used or supplied
    standard procedure”
    standard car equipment”
    having no special distinction or quality; widely known or commonly encountered; average or ordinary or usual
  7. adjective
    regularly and widely used or sold
    “a standard size”
    synonyms: stock
    in accordance with fixed order or procedure or principle
  8. adjective
    conforming to the established language usage of educated native speakers
    “" standard English" (American)”
    synonyms: received
    judged to be in conformity with approved usage
    (language) having the form used by ancient standard authors
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    not conforming to the language usage of a prestige group within a community
    unacceptable, unaccepted
    not conforming to standard usage
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  9. noun
    a board measure = 1980 board feet
  10. noun
    an upright pole or beam (especially one used as a support)
    “distance was marked by standards every mile”
    “lamps supported on standards provided illumination”
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    type of:
    an upright consisting of a piece of timber or metal fixed firmly in an upright position
  11. noun
    any distinctive flag
    synonyms: banner
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    a red or orange-red flag used as a standard by early French kings
    type of:
    emblem usually consisting of a rectangular piece of cloth of distinctive design
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