Today, we’re most familiar with the units of measurement from the metric and the imperial systems—centimeters and inches, kilos and pounds. But there have been many, many other units of measurement throughout history, and some of them are still used in different parts of the world. We’ll try to bring twelve of them—those with funny or interesting names—closer to you, through time and space.
Usually, when you say the word chow, you are talking about either food or the dog breed chow chow. However, in nineteenth-century India, using the word chow wouldn’t make you a dog lover or a hungry person. It would make you a trader in pearls, because chow was the unit of mass pearl traders used.
Scruple was a unit of mass in the English-speaking world, used by apothecaries. It was small, as you’d expect from a unit that measured medicine. It weighed exactly twenty grains, or roughly 1.296 grams. The scruple hasn’t been in use since 1971.
There’s nothing catlike about the word catty and how they use it in Asia. In countries like China, Indonesia, and Thailand, catty is a unit of weight, equal to around 600 grams.
Laugh all you want, but a butt was a real unit of measurement dating back to sixteenth-century Britain. It measured the liquid capacity of vessels, particularly those for wine and whiskey.
Before there was the Caped Crusader, the World’s Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight, the batman was used to measure mass in the Ottoman Empire and Persia, and in their successor countries, Turkey and Iran.
Homer might be a lovable yellow beer guzzler who works in nuclear power plant. Or he might be the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. But a homer, originally chomer, refers to two ancient Hebrew units of measurement: one for dry capacity and the other for land area.
Canada: the land of maple syrup, hockey, lakes, politeness, and movie sets. Also, a unit of measure for wine in Portugal and countries where Portuguese is spoken. You can also spell it “canado,” “canhado,” and “canhada.”
Amphora is the Greek or Roman jug most of us are familiar with from history classes. However, the term amphora was also used for a unit of capacity by both Greeks and Romans. The Greek amphora had a volume of roughly thirteen liters, and the Roman amphora had double that.
Before the kilogram was called the kilogram, there was a proposal to call it a grave. A gram was a gravet under this proposal, and a tonne was a bar.
Also spelled kandy and gandy, candy is a unit of mass and capacity traditionally used in South Asia. And just in case you were wondering, eating a candy of candy would make for an overdose—depending on whom you ask, a candy weighs between 500 and 18,000 pounds.
As we’ve all come to learn, hobbits are amazing little creatures which, when necessary, display bravery disproportional to their size. But if we looked for hobbits outside of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, we’d find them in Wales, although we might end up disappointed with the find. A hobbit, or a hobbet, was a unit for measuring volume, and later, weight.
Not only did Wales give us the hobbit, it also gave us the pwn. Not the pwn you would do to a n00b, mind you, but the pwn you use when measuring the weight of straw.
from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/units-measurement-nerd-dom/