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A standard is a comparatively uniform or unified, widely recognized and mostly used (or at least strived for) way of describing, producing or implementing something that has prevailed over other ways or at least serves as a guideline. With this meaning, the term standard is particularly common in the fields of technology and methodology , for human rights , standard of living or environmental protection . The term is used both for generally recognized objectives and for generally recognized realizations.

A standard can

  • be described in a formalized or non-formalized set of rules (in one or more rules or a standard ) or
  • arise unplanned.

In (production) technology, in addition to the industrial standard, there is also the manufacturer-specific standard and the open standard .

Interested parties can take steps to promote one standard or to push back another standard. Such disputes are called format wars . As the first major format war of the industrial history of the true current war ( war of currents ), as in 1890 Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) and George Westinghouse (1846-1914), argued about whether the favored Edison DC voltage or favored by Westinghouse alternating current the more suitable technology for the large-scale supply of the United States of America with electrical energy. Ultimately, the companies fought for market share.


In English, standard in its current meaning was originally only used in the form of the royal standard. Norms set in the name or mark ( standard ) of the king were considered authoritative. A standard is a kind of rallying point around which one Flocking - similar to the standard ( "a gehisstes on a pole field characters , usually a picture, which the gathering place of a military unit selected in the battle and so the insignia of this military unit was").

Standard is commonly known as a rule or norm. However, there are also clear definitions, for example from British Standards (formerly “British Standards Institute”): “A standard is a publicly accessible technical document that is developed with the participation of all interested parties and receives their approval. The standard is based on results from science and technology and aims to promote the common good . "

Standard and Norm

In engineering and science, the term standard is generally used as an umbrella term for

  • technical standards (in the sense of agreements of certain organizations) which have gained wide acceptance in practice,
  • social and political norms, which are prescribed by laws and ordinances and for
  • Standardizations that have arisen unplanned as a result of social processes and practical experience, developed and established as a kind of tacit agreement (“ convention ”), for example industry standards and “manufacturer-specific ( proprietary ) standards”.

One speaks of de facto or quasi standards when methods or rules prevail in practice and are not set as a result of agreements, laws, ordinances or the like.

In the last few years there has been a confusion of terms in German usage, as “standard” is also used for norms, analogous to the English term standard . To differentiate between the terms “norm” and “standard” in traditional German usage, see under standardization . A standard is a factually (sometimes also legally) recognized and generally valid as well as published rule for regulating a situation that has been adopted through a standardization process. All instances of a standardization process were run through, then it was decided and published. The prerequisite for a standard is that it is technically mature and useful for the user. The term de jure standard comes from the English language usage (the English spelling dispenses with the hyphens), which corresponds to the German term norm .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Standard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations