1. General: Written definition, limit, or rule, approved and monitored for compliance by an authoritative agency or professional or recognized body as a minimum acceptable benchmark. Standards may be classified as (1) government or statutory agency standards and specifications enforced by law, (2) proprietary standards developed by a firm or organization and placed in public domain to encourage their widespread use, and (3) voluntary standards established by consultation and consensus and available for use by any person, organization, or industry. Once established, standards (like bureaucracies) are very difficult to change or dislodge. For example, the world standard for broad gauge railway line is 4 feet and 8½ inches between the parallel tracks. This odd figure has its origin in the axle-width of Roman army chariots designed to accommodate the rear ends of two horses yoked side-by-side.
2. GATT definition: "Technical specifications contained in a document that lays characteristics of a product such as levels of quality, performance, safety, or dimensions. Standards may include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, testing and methods, packaging, or labeling requirements as they apply to a product." See also standard.