I have a simple – and possibly obviously trivial – question: why is the standard deviation called just that, “

standard“? Is it because it standardizes the comparison of data sets and results with respect to their dispersion?A search on Stack Exchange doesn’t turn up this question, nor does a Google search on the etymology of the term yield much of value.

**Answer**

Pearson made up this term in 1894 paper “On the dissection of asymmetrical frequency-curves”, here’s the pdf. Also, he wrote it with a hyphen, “standard-deviation”.

He didn’t bother to explain us why he chose the term. Gauss and Airy called it *mean error* (mittlerer Fehler) and *error of mean square*. In physics it’s usually called “dispersion”, btw.

My guess is that Pearson used the Gaussian (normal) distribution to motivate the usage, so he probably thought that it’s “standard” in that sense.

**Attribution***Source : Link , Question Author : Sebastian Hansen , Answer Author : mkt*