beyond measure, too much to be reckoned; immeasurably; extremely: The suffering that they endured was beyond measure.
    for good measure, as an extra: In addition to dessert, they served chocolates for good measure.
    have/take someone's measure, to judge or assess someone's character, capabilities, etc.; size up: During their conversation she was taking his measure as a prospective employee.
    in a/some measure, to some extent or degree: His conclusion is justified in some measure.
    measure one's length, to fall or be knocked down; fall flat: He missed a step in the dark and measured his length at the bottom.
    measure swords,
    1. to test one's preparedness for a contest or encounter.
    2. to battle with swords.
    3. to fight, compete, etc.: The producer of the poorly reviewed show decided to measure swords with the critics.

Origin of measure

1250–1300; Middle English mesure, from Middle French, from Latin mēnsūra, equivalent to mēns(us), past participle of mētīrī “to measure, mete” + -ūra -ure
Related formsmeas·ur·er, nounin·ter·meas·ure, verb (used with object), in·ter·meas·ured, in·ter·meas·ur·ing.mis·meas·ure, verb, mis·meas·ured, mis·meas·ur·ing.out·meas·ure, verb (used with object), out·meas·ured, out·meas·ur·ing.pre·meas·ure, verb (used with object), pre·meas·ured, pre·meas·ur··meas·ure, verb (used with object), re·meas·ured, re·meas·ur·ing.un·der·meas·ure, verb (used with object), un·der·meas·ured, un·der·meas·ur·ing, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for take someone's measure



the extent, quantity, amount, or degree of something, as determined by measurement or calculation
a device for measuring distance, volume, etc, such as a graduated scale or container
a system of measurementgive the size in metric measure
a standard used in a system of measurementsthe international prototype kilogram is the measure of mass in SI units
a specific or standard amount of somethinga measure of grain; short measure; full measure
a basis or standard for comparisonhis work was the measure of all subsequent attempts
reasonable or permissible limit or boundswe must keep it within measure
degree or extent (often in phrases such as in some measure, in a measure, etc)they gave him a measure of freedom
(often plural) a particular action intended to achieve an effectthey took measures to prevent his leaving
a legislative bill, act, or resolutionto bring in a measure
music another word for bar 1 (def. 15a)
prosody poetic rhythm or cadence; metre
a metrical foot
poetic a melody or tune
the act of measuring; measurement
archaic a dance
printing the width of a page or column of type
for good measure as an extra precaution or beyond requirements
get the measure of someone or get someone's measure to assess the nature, character, quality, etc, of someone
made to measure (of clothes) made to fit an individual purchaser


(tr often foll by up) to determine the size, amount, etc, of by measurement
(intr) to make a measurement or measurements
(tr) to estimate or determineI measured his strength to be greater than mine
(tr) to function as a measurement ofthe ohm measures electrical resistance
(tr) to bring into competition or conflicthe measured his strength against that of his opponent
(intr) to be as specified in extent, amount, etcthe room measures six feet
(tr) to travel or move over as if measuring
(tr) to adjust or choosehe measured his approach to suit the character of his client
(intr) to allow or yield to measurement
Derived Formsmeasurer, noun

Word Origin for measure

C13: from Old French, from Latin mēnsūra measure, from mēnsus, past participle of mētīrī to measure
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 take someone's measure



c.1300, "to deal out by measure," from Old French mesurer "measure; moderate, curb" (12c.), from Late Latin mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE *me- "to measure" (see meter (n.2)).

Replaced Old English cognate mæð "measure." Meaning "to ascertain spatial dimensions of" is mid-14c. To measure up "have the necessary abilities" is 1910, American English. Related: Measured; measuring.



c.1200, "moderation, temperance, abstemiousness;" c.1300, "instrument for measuring," from Old French mesure "limit, boundary; quantity, dimension; occasion, time" (12c.), from Latin mensura "measure" (see measure (v.)). Meaning "size or quantity as ascertained by measuring" is from early 14c. Meaning "action of measuring; standard measure of quantity; system of measuring; appointed or alloted amount of anything" is late 14c. Also from late 14c. are senses "proper proportion, balance." Sense of "that to which something is compared to determine its quantity" is from 1570s. Meaning "rhythmic pattern in music" is late 14c.; from mid-15c. in poetry, c.1500 in dance. Meaning "treatment 'meted out' to someone" is from 1590s; that of "plan or course of action intended to obtain some goal" is from 1690s; sense of "legislative enactment" is from 1759. Phrase for good measure (late 14c.) is literally "ample in quantity, in goods sold by measure."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for take someone's measure




Dimensions, quantity, or capacity as ascertained by comparison with a standard.
A reference standard or sample used for the quantitative comparison of properties.
A unit specified by a scale, such as a degree, or by variable conditions, such as room temperature.
A system of measurement, such as the metric system.
A device used for measuring.
The act of measuring.
An evaluation or a basis of comparison.
Extent or degree.
A definite quantity that has been measured out.


To ascertain the dimensions, quantity, or capacity of.
To mark, lay out, or establish dimensions for by measuring.
To bring into comparison.
To mark off or apportion, usually with reference to a given unit of measurement.
To serve as a measure of.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with take someone's measure

take someone's measure

Also, take the measure of someone. Size someone up, evaluate someone or something, as in At their first meeting, heads of state generally try to take each other's measure, or The voters are taking the measure of the union's demands. [Mid-1600s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with measure

  • measure up

also see:

  • beyond measure
  • for good measure
  • in some measure
  • made to measure
  • take someone's measure
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.