Definition of touchstone in English:

touchstone

noun

  • 1A piece of fine-grained dark schist or jasper formerly used for testing alloys of gold by observing the colour of the mark which they made on it.

    • ‘The same example can be cited: in spite of producing unlimited quantities of gold, the touchstone remains the same.’
    • ‘‘To touch’ in reference to fine metals such as gold refers to the touchstone used to test the purity of the metal.’
    • ‘Small black stones were used as touchstones to test the colour, and hence purity, of gold.’
    1. 1.1A standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized.
      ‘they tend to regard grammar as the touchstone of all language performance’
      • ‘Smith endorsed capitalism as a means to his ultimate value - control of arbitrary rule, a premise that has remained a touchstone of liberalism.’
      • ‘By the Second World War the toleration of COs had begun to be recognized as a touchstone of mature liberalism.’
      • ‘But these terms, profoundly limiting as they are, are actually touchstones that disputants in the periodical debate would recognize.’
      • ‘Our writings serve as the academy's benchmarks, the ethical touchstones for the noblest of professions.’
      • ‘There are Australianisms of language and tone, Australian touchstones of reference, that should be consciously preserved.’
      • ‘What, in short, is the touchstone by which to recognise a special class of people from members of the general public?’
      • ‘In a sense, an extensive vocabulary appears to have mistakenly become a touchstone by which one's English proficiency is judged and assessed.’
      • ‘We are, after all, introduced to him in the first stanza through his tastes, the touchstones he cannot lay aside and by which he judges all else.’
      • ‘We had no idea the film would become the touchstone for special effects films that it is recognized to be today.’
      • ‘Such reference has been the touchstone for an assessment of trade unions over the last two decades.’
      • ‘Ridley's treatment of the role of inheritance in the determination of intelligence and, more generally, of personality, will be for many readers the touchstone by which his book is judged.’
      • ‘It is a touchstone against which I measure my own political views.’
      • ‘We see the standard touchstones - the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock - but we also see the streets, Jerusalem as a town, a city where Jews and Arabs both live.’
      • ‘Nor has he challenged the appellant's case that the requirements of the Convention provide a touchstone for judging the rationality of his decision and the policy pursuant to which it was reached.’
      • ‘His reference to the Cold War as his touchstone gives him away.’
      • ‘That was his political touchstone, his point of reference, the rock upon which he built everything else.’
      • ‘Considerations on the French Revolution would become a touchstone for the liberals under the Bourbons.’
      • ‘An article in a foreign journal becomes a touchstone and then a norm, unless it is torn asunder by some path-breaking discovery.’
      • ‘This attitude comes mostly from the idea that American middle-class values are the touchstone from which all else should be judged.’
      • ‘I would have thought ID cards are a pretty fundamental issue if not a touchstone of liberal credentials.’

Pronunciation:

touchstone

/ˈtʌtʃstəʊn/