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A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose.
In layman's terms, you can think of a standard as an agreed-upon formula for the best way of doing something.
Also from ANSI:
Behind the scenes, standards make everyday life work. They establish the size, shape, or capacity of a product or system. They specify performance of products, processes, or personnel. They also define terms so that there is no misunderstanding among those using the standard. Standards ensure that a phone call can be interconnected anywhere in the world, that batteries for electrical appliances are safe, and that a plane that takes off from London can be refueled in Los Angeles. With standards in place, our homes, workplaces, and daily lives are safer and more convenient.