gold standard

a monetary system with gold of specified weight and fineness as the unit of value.

1825–35, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gold standard
1.  a monetary system in which the unit of currency is defined with reference to gold
2.  the supreme example of something against which others are judged or measured: the current gold standard for breast cancer detection

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

gold standard definition

A system in which a nation's currency has a value measured in gold and can be exchanged for gold. Most nations, including the United States, went off the gold standard in the 1930s.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
And then there's the microwave, the gold standard of collegiate cooking
But the gold standard for being a hominid was upright walking.
As for paper money itself, the end of the gold standard meant that cash had
  become a total abstraction.
The scientific process is the gold standard for the determination of truth in
  our day and age.
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