See more synonyms for norm on
  1. a standard, model, or pattern.
  2. general level or average: Two cars per family is the norm in most suburban communities.
  3. Education.
    1. a designated standard of average performance of people of a given age, background, etc.
    2. a standard based on the past average performance of a given individual.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. a real-valued, nonnegative function whose domain is a vector space, with properties such that the function of a vector is zero only when the vector is zero, the function of a scalar times a vector is equal to the absolute value of the scalar times the function of the vector, and the function of the sum of two vectors is less than or equal to the sum of the functional values of each vector. The norm of a real number is its absolute value.
    2. the greatest difference between two successive points of a given partition.

Origin of norm

First recorded in 1815–25, norm is from the Latin word norma carpenter's square, rule, pattern
Related formsnorm·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for norms

Contemporary Examples of norms

Historical Examples of norms

  • Unless they are rooted in our own life, these norms are like misty forms in the air.

  • We perceive this in the norms with which the research of the present is busily occupied.

  • The norms of one will not satisfy the conditions of another stage of manifestation.

    The Mystery of Space

    Robert T. Browne

  • Production norms under the system have been low because of technological advances and the infrequency of adjustment of norms.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria

    Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole

  • If he exists at all, his norms of worth may be, and probably are, very different from ours.

British Dictionary definitions for norms


  1. an average level of achievement or performance, as of a group or person
  2. a standard of achievement or behaviour that is required, desired, or designated as normal
  3. sociol an established standard of behaviour shared by members of a social group to which each member is expected to conform
  4. maths
    1. the length of a vector expressed as the square root of the sum of the square of its components
    2. another name for mode (def. 6)
  5. geology the theoretical standard mineral composition of an igneous rock

Word Origin for norm

C19: from Latin norma carpenter's rule, square


  1. a stereotype of the unathletic Australian male

Word Origin for Norm

from a cartoon figure in the government-sponsored Life, Be In It campaign
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for norms



"standard, pattern, model," 1821, from French norme, from Latin norma "carpenter's square, rule, pattern," of unknown origin. Klein suggests a borrowing (via Etruscan) of Greek gnomon "carpenter's square." The Latin form of the word, norma, was used in English in the sense of "carpenter's square" from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper