set the bar (high/low)

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set the bar (high/low)

To establish an expected, required, or desired standard of quality. (Often said of a standard that is constrictive in being either too low or too high). A: "At this point, I'm willing to go out with just about any guy, so long as he isn't living in his parents' basement." B: "Don't you think you're setting the bar a little low?" While you shouldn't take just any job you can get after college, be sure not to set the bar too high for an entry level job, or you may have trouble landing one at all. I hear that the new restaurant around the corner really sets the bar for exquisite seafood.
See also: bar, set
References in periodicals archive ?
The remainder represents the standard course of business: analysts typically set the bar lower as the earnings season approaches (by 4.
Some states have adopted strong standards, while others have set the bar lower.
Today's revelations - that admissions officers are continuing to set the bar lower for new entrants - shows the lengths universities are having to go to.
Back in 1999, when it established the Academic Performance Index, which assesses student achievement, the state set the bar lower for schools with high concentrations of black students, English learners or poor kids.