Abbreviation for Gallon

The gallon is a metric measurement for volume. The most common usage for people in the United States is the gallon jug of milk or gallons of gasoline.

Abbreviation for Gallon

The gallon abbreviation is simple. It is gal (with no period). Occasionally, it is shortened even further to GL (with no period).

The three-letter abbreviation can be written in either uppercase or lowercase, but the two-letter abbreviation should be in uppercase.

  • GAL
  • gal
  • GL

Definition of Gallon

A gallon is a unit of capacity. One gallon is equal to 4 quarts or 3.79 liters. It measures the volume of liquids usually, although there is a measurement called the dry gallon. It is originally a British measurement, but today it is used mainly in the US.

An imperial gallon, which is used in the UK, Canada, and a few Caribbean and Latin American countries is slightly larger and equals 1.2 US gallons.

The word gallon was first used as we know it in the 13th century. It was a measurement of 4 quarts, though the quarts were different depending on which kind was being used. There were different measurements for wine and wheat and other commodities, so the actual gallons were different sizes, but roughly meant a whole with four equal parts. It originated as a Latin word, galleta, which evolved into the Old French word, jalon, and then into the Anglo-French versions, galun, galon, and jalon. Most of these words indicated a liquid measurement or container of some sort. It could also have been translated at times as, bucket, pail, basket, or vessel.


Since a gallon is a specific unit of measurement, there are not many synonyms for it.

It could also be called:

A liquid measure

A liquid unit

Or the equivalent of other units could be used instead:

Quart (4 quarts = 1 gal)

Pint (8 pints = 1 gal)

Cup (16 cups = 1 gal)

Ounce (128 ounces = 1 gal)

When to Use the Abbreviation

The gallon abbreviation can be used anytime space is a concern, except in formal essays. Sometimes newspapers or other articles will use the abbreviation because of spacing issues. Although it is not often used in normal prose, the abbreviation is commonly used in recipes, formulas, or editor’s notes.

Example Sentences

1) I heard my son chanting, “There are 2 cups in a pint, and 2 pints in a quart, and 4 quarts in a gallon.”

2) I looked at the gallons of water on the floor and shuddered at the thought of mopping it all up.

3) A liquid gallon could measure water, wine, or gasoline, and a dry gallon could measure rice, sugar, or powder.

4) I reread the recipe to make sure I had it right. It said 1/2 gal of milk and 2 cups of heavy cream.

5) The student squinted as she added the 16 gal and 5 quarts in her head.

6) 1 US GL = 3.79 liters.

7) The scribbled notes read, “Check differences between dry and liquid GL and the imperial GL.”

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