A manuscript page with rubrics.

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English rubrich, rubrik, from Old French rubrique, from Latin rubrīca (red ochre), the substance used to make red letters, from ruber (red), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rewdʰ-.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹuːbɹɪk/
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rubric (plural rubrics)

  1. A heading in a book highlighted in red.
  2. A title of a category or a class.
    That would fall under the rubric of things we can ignore for now.
  3. (Christianity) The directions for a religious service, formerly printed in red letters.
    • 1842, Walter Hook, Church Dictionary
      All the clergy in England solemnly pledge themselves to observe the rubrics.
  4. An established rule or custom; a guideline.
    • 1847-1848, Thomas De Quincey, "Protestantism", in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine
      Nay, as a duty, it had no place or rubric in human conceptions before Christianity.
    • 1782, William Cowper, The Progress of Error
      Let Comus rise Archbishop of the land;
      Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe
  5. (education) A set of scoring criteria for evaluating student work and for giving feedback.
  6. A flourish after a signature.
  7. Red ochre.


Related termsEdit



rubric (comparative more rubric, superlative most rubric)

  1. Coloured or marked with red; placed in rubrics.
  2. Of or relating to the rubric or rubrics; rubrical.


rubric (third-person singular simple present rubrics, present participle rubricking, simple past and past participle rubricked)

  1. (transitive) To adorn with red; to redden.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)

Further readingEdit