Universally or widely accepted, agreed upon, or established means of determining what something should be. Major classifications of this term include: (1) Material or substance whose properties are known with a level of accuracy that is sufficient to allow its use as a physical reference in calibrating or measuring the same properties of another material or substance. (2) Concept, norm, or principle established by agreement, authority, or custom, and used generally as an example or model to compare or measure the quality or performance of a practice or procedure. (3) Written definition, limit, or rule approved and monitored for compliance by an authoritative agency (or professional or recognized body) as a minimum acceptable benchmark. This is the usual meaning of the plural term (standards). See also specification.

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