avoirdupois weights


avoirdupois weights
   the common traditional system of weights in all the English-speaking countries.
   Until the introduction of the metric system, almost all weights were stated in avoirdupois units, with only precious metals being measured by troy weights and pharmaceuticals by apothecary weights (see above). The name of the system comes from the Old French phrase avoir du pois or aveir de pois, "goods of weight," indicating simply that the goods were being sold by weight rather than by volume or by the piece. The system is based on the avoirdupois pound1 of 7000 grains. The pound is divided into 16 ounces1, each divided further into 16 drams1. The avoirdupois system was introduced in England around 1300, replacing an older commercial system based on a "mercantile pound" (libra mercatoria) of 7200 grains divided into exactly 15 troy ounces2. Scholars believe the avoirdupois pound was invented by wool merchants and modeled on a pound of 16 ounces used in Florence, Italy, which was an important buyer of English wool at the time. The avoirdupois weights quickly became the standard weights of trade and commerce. They continue to be used for most items of retail trade in the United States, and they remain in some use in Britain, Canada, and other areas of British heritage despite the introduction of metric units there.

Dictionary of units of measurement. 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • avoirdupois weights —  The system of weights traditionally used throughout the English speaking world, based on one pound equaling sixteen ounces …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • avoirdupois — /ˌævwɑ: dju pwɑ:/ noun a non metric system of weights used in the UK, the USA and other countries, whose basic units are the ounce, the pound, the hundredweight and the ton (NOTE: The system is now no longer officially used in the UK) COMMENT:… …   Dictionary of banking and finance

  • Avoirdupois — Av oir*du*pois ([a^]v [ e]r*d[ u]*poiz ), n. & a. [OE. aver de peis, goods of weight, where peis is fr. OF. peis weight, F. poids, L. pensum. See {Aver}, n., and {Poise}, n.] 1. Goods sold by weight. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. Avoirdupois weight.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Avoirdupois weight — Avoirdupois Av oir*du*pois ([a^]v [ e]r*d[ u]*poiz ), n. & a. [OE. aver de peis, goods of weight, where peis is fr. OF. peis weight, F. poids, L. pensum. See {Aver}, n., and {Poise}, n.] 1. Goods sold by weight. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • avoirdupois weight — n. a British and American system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces: see the table of weights and measures in the Reference Supplement …   English World dictionary

  • avoirdupois weight — n a system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces and an ounce of 437.5 grains (28.350 grams) and in general use in the U.S. except for precious metals, gems, and drugs * * * the system of weight commonly used for ordinary commodities in… …   Medical dictionary

  • avoirdupois — (n.) 1650s, misspelling of M.E. avoir de peise (c.1300), from O.Fr. avoir de pois goods of weight, from aveir property, goods (noun use of aveir have ) + peis weight, from L. pensum, neut. of pendere to weigh (see PENDANT (Cf. pendant) …   Etymology dictionary

  • avoirdupois weight — avoirdupois′ weight n. wam the system of weights, based on the pound of 16 ounces, used in Great Britain and the U.S. for goods other than gems, precious metals, and drugs Abbr.: av. 3) avdp. avoir …   From formal English to slang

  • avoirdupois — ► NOUN ▪ a system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces or 7,000 grains. Compare with TROY(Cf. ↑troy). ORIGIN from Old French aveir de peis goods of weight …   English terms dictionary

  • avoirdupois weight — noun a system of weights based on the 16 ounce pound (or 7,000 grains) • Syn: ↑avoirdupois • Hypernyms: ↑system of weights, ↑weight • Part Meronyms: ↑avoirdupois unit * * * noun …   Useful english dictionary

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