Yardstick – Definition with Examples

Home » Math Vocabulary » Yardstick – Definition with Examples

Mike wanted to measure his height. He decided to use a ruler to measure his height, but it took very long for him to measure the height with the ruler. If he used a better measuring tool, it would have taken less time. What could have been a better measuring tool? A yardstick!

What is a Yardstick?

“Yard” means 3 feet and “stick” means a thin long piece of wood. So, a yardstick is a measuring stick that is 3 feet long. 


How long is a Yardstick?

It is a long ruler that is 3 times as long as the usual 12-inch ruler. Most of them are made of wood. Sometimes they are hinged so that they can be folded, and because of their size, they are ideal for some specific tasks in construction and carpentry. The word “yardstick” is used figuratively to mean “standard” or “benchmark”.

Fun Fact!

Originally, a yard was the length of a man’s belt or girdle, as it was called. King Henry I of England fixed the yard as the distance from his nose to the thumb of his outstretched arm in the 12th century CE. Nowadays, it is 36 inches. 

Uses of Yardstick

The yardstick is used to work on a medium scale. It is used for objects that are larger than a desktop, but objects that are smaller than large-scale infrastructure work. These are applicable for building furniture pieces, vehicles, and houses. Modern yardsticks are made to be folded for ease of transport.

They can also be used as pointing devices for posters and projections. They are used as a rope to make the wings for remote-controlled model aircraft that are made of plastic.

For a math teacher, using a yardstick when solving geometric problems on a chalkboard will work much better than using a 12-inch ruler, since larger figures can be drawn and measured easily. 

Difference Between Ruler and Yardstick

Difference between ruler and yardstick

A ruler is defined as a measuring tool or device that is used to measure length and draw straight lines. A yardstick, on the other hand, is a measuring tool that is 3 feet long or 3 times the size of a ruler. So, a yardstick is a type of ruler with a fixed length equal to 3 feet. Inch-rulers are used to measure objects of shorter length like a bottle, pencil box, butterfly, etc., while yardsticks are used to measure the length of bigger objects like furniture, cupboards, etc.

How to Measure with a Yardstick

To use a yardstick, we must first understand the divisions on the yardstick. 

It not only represents feet and inches but also fractions of inches. It makes the measurement accurate. So, let’s understand the divisions. 

1. The smallest lines between inch markers represent 1/16 of an inch.

2. The next longest lines represent 1/8 of an inch.

3. The next longest lines show 1/4 inches.

4. The longest line between inch markers shows 1/2 an inch.

5. There are foot markings after every 12 inches. 

Fraction of inches on a yardstick

Now, let’s understand the steps to measure the length of an object using a yardstick. 

1. Place the yardstick along the length of the object to be measured. 

2. Ensure that the zero points at the starting point of the object. 

3. Follow the numbers on the yardstick and read the marking that points at the endpoint of the object. This represents the length of the object. It could be a whole inch or a fraction of an inch.

Solved Examples

Example 1: Name 3 objects for which a yardstick is a suitable tool for measuring their length.

Solution: The three objects for which a yardstick is a suitable tool for measuring their length are table, chair and door. 

Example 2: How many times would you place a yardstick if the length of an object is 15 feet?

Solution: A yardstick is 3 feet long. Since 3 times 5 is 15, to measure the length of 15 feet, the yardstick needs to be placed 5 times.

Example 3: What is the height of the object if a yardstick is placed 7 times?

Solution: We know that a yardstick is 3 feet long and it is placed 7 times.So, height of the object = $3\times7$ = 21 feet.

Practice Problems

Yardstick - Definition with Examples

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.


Which of the following will be an appropriate measurement tool for constructing the furniture pieces?

Measuring Tape
None of these
Correct answer is: Yardstick
Since furniture pieces are medium-sized objects, a yardstick is the best tool to construct them.

Which of the following will be an appropriate measurement tool for measuring the length of a notebook?

Meter Stick
Measuring Tape
Correct answer is: Ruler
Since a notebook is a small-sized object, a ruler is the best tool to measure its length.

A yardstick is ______ inches long

Correct answer is: 36
A yardstick is 3 feet long.
1 feet = 12 inches
3 feet = 36 inches

Frequently Asked Questions

A measuring tape is a 5-foot-long measurement tool used to measure curved, bent or difficult places like the waistline, the inside of a drawer, etc. On the other hand, a yardstick is a 36-inch or 3-foot-long measurement tool used to measure straight objects that are longer than 1 foot like desk, chair, etc.

There are several tools to measure the length like rulers, tape measures, yardsticks, meter sticks and many more.

The width of a yardstick is 1⅛ inches.