• WordNet 3.6
    • n touchstone a basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated "the schools comply with federal standards","they set the measure for all subsequent work"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Touchstone Any test or criterion by which the qualities of a thing are tried. "The foregoing doctrine affords us also a touchstone for the trial of spirits."
    • Touchstone (Min) Lydian stone; basanite; -- so called because used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak which is left upon the stone when it is rubbed by the metal. See Basanite.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n touchstone A very fine-grained dark-colored variety of schist or jasper, used for trying the quality of alloys of the precious metals. The alloy is rubbed on the stone, and the color of the streak is compared with that of various alloys of known composition prepared for that purpose and called touch-needles. It was formerly extensively used for ascertaining the fineness of gold, but the facility and rapidity with which exact assays are now made have rendered the touchstone a matter of much less importance. It was the “Lydian stone” of the ancients, under which name (Λυδια λίθος) it is mentioned and its nse described by Bacchylidee (about 450 b. c.), while Theophrastus calls it both the Lydian and the Heraclean stone (λίθος (Ηρακλεία). Βασανίτης, βασανιτης λίθος and βάσανος were names given to it by various Greek authors. It was the coticula of Pliny, whose basanites was a dark-colored, very compact igneous rock, probably a variety of basalt, basaltes and basanites having at a very early period become inextricably confused with each other in meaning. By some these words are believed to have been originally different; by others it is thought that basaltes was a corruption of basanites.
    • n touchstone Any test or criterion by which the qualities of a thing are tried: as, money, the touchstone of common honesty.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Touchstone a kind of compact basalt or stone for testing gold or silver by the streak of the touch-needle: any test
    • ***


  • Beaumont and Fletcher
    Beaumont and Fletcher
    “Calamity is man's true touchstone.”
  • J. William Galbraith
    J. William Galbraith
    “Familiarity may breed contempt in some areas of human behavior, but in the field of social ideas it is the touchstone of acceptability.”
  • George Meredith
    “The season of love is the carnival of egoism and it brings a touchstone to our natures.”
  • Publius Cornelius Tacitus
    “Prosperity is the measure or touchstone of virtue, for it is less difficult to bear misfortune than to remain uncorrupted by pleasure.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. toucher—from Old High Ger. zucchen (Ger. zucken), to move, to draw.


In literature:

But mind one thing, Master Touchstone!
"Seven Miles to Arden" by Ruth Sawyer
Let us be thankful, and not angry, that we must accept it as our touchstone.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 121, November, 1867" by Various
Clothes were the main touchstone.
"Jennie Gerhardt" by Theodore Dreiser
The touchstone of good manners is the way in which a man behaves to his superiors or inferiors.
"Social Life" by Maud C. Cooke
And absolute results to posterity are the fatal touchstone of opinions in the past.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -- Volume 57, No. 351, January 1845" by Various
Experience is ever regarded as the best school-master, the proper touchstone to all our theories.
"The Prison Chaplaincy, And Its Experiences" by Hosea Quinby
She had found her touchstone.
"Outside Inn" by Ethel M. Kelley
Solitude is the touchstone of valour, and the modern soldier cast in upon himself, undazzled, unblinded, faces death singly.
"The Origins and Destiny of Imperial Britain" by J. A. Cramb
Well, there is always one thing; it will serve as a touchstone.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 25 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Why, there's the touchstone!
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson

In poetry:

When slender rapiers, proud with gems,
Sneered at the sun their haughty hues,
And Touchstone wit and apothegms
Laughed down the long, cool avenues.
"An Antique" by Madison Julius Cawein
What Malvern is the day is, and it's touchstone
Gray velvet, or moonmarked; rich, or bare as bone;
One looks towards Malvern and is tuned to the whole,
The world swings round him, as the Bear to the Pole.
"The Comparison" by Ivor Gurney

In news:

Here is another link to the podcast in case the play button is not visible: Touchstone Interview.
98.3 The Key and Touchstone Jewelers want to congratulate Leticia Pena.
Gubernatorial race seen as touchstone for 2010 politics.
PanoramaDTV, the video products division of Wohler Technologies, is now shipping its Touchstone 3G portable signal test generator for digital video and audio.
The Office as Architectural Touchstone .
Touchstone 's Orion, rest in peace.
A Touchstone Cultural Moment for America.
Touchstone Energy donating 'Get Charged' curriculum kits Middle school and junior high students in communities across the state will soon be learning about electricity in an exciting new way.
At least, not if pop culture touchstones like The Ice Storm are to be believed.
Mary Wright from Touchstone Theatre talks 'Christmas City Follies'.
Jaciel sits down with actress Mary Wright from Touchstone Theatre to talk about the group and their 13th annual 'Christmas City Follies' show.
LeVar Burton , Mr Cultural Touchstone.
LeVar Burton, Mr Cultural Touchstone.
The Co-op Connections Card, offered by 22 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives here in Kentucky, provides savings of 10 percent to 60 percent off prescriptions at most major pharmacies.
The closure scattered the publication's editors and staff to the four winds and left readers searching for a new touchstone.

In science:

This sequence contains three separate touchstones for an understanding of the cuprates: the Mott insulator, which is known to result from very strong electron-electron repulsion and is antiferromagnetically ordered, the d-wave superconductor, and the overdoped metal.
Tl2Ba2CuO6+d Brings Spectroscopic Probes Deep Into the Overdoped Regime of the High-Tc Cuprates
Algebraic regularity occurs in many different ways; it might be related to the number of generators of certain modules, to tensorial absorption of suitable touchstone algebras, or to structural properties of homological invariants.
Nuclear dimension and Z-stability of pure C*-algebras
We report the results of an analysis of all Spitzer/MIPS 24 µm observations of HD 209458b, one of the touchstone ob jects in the study of irradiated giant planet atmospheres.
Spitzer/MIPS 24 micron Observations of HD 209458b: 3 eclipses, 2.5 transits, and a Phase Curve Corrupted by Instrumental Sensitivity Variations
These are the two touchstone ob jects in the study of irradiated giant exoplanets, both because they were discovered relatively early on and because they orbit especially bright (as seen from Earth) host stars.
Spitzer/MIPS 24 micron Observations of HD 209458b: 3 eclipses, 2.5 transits, and a Phase Curve Corrupted by Instrumental Sensitivity Variations
As a touchstone, we consider the case of the diffraction–limited laser with an aperture of 10-m (Keck–to–Keck), giving a solid angle for one beam, Ωbeam ≈ 10−15 sr.
Optical SETI: A Spectroscopic Search for Laser Emission from Nearby Stars