Abbreviation for Liter

The liter (American spelling) or litre (International spelling) is a metric measurement for volume. The most common usage for people in the United States is the two-liter bottle of soda or soft drink. The standard liter abbreviation is L or l. A commonly used but incorrect abbreviation is ltr.

The problem with that spelling is a person could easily assume it was short for letter which would make a sentence hard to comprehend. The better path is to use the recognized forms.

Definition of the Word in the Metric System

Liter is part of the metric system. It is used to measure volume of a liquid. The metric system is used around the world with the exception of the United States. A liter is 1.057 of a quart. The two-liter bottle lists the English equivalent which is just over two quarts, or a half gallon.

Soft drink manufactures have made the two liter bottle an accepted form of measurement for consumers, That is true even if the average person does not know how to convert liters to quarts and fluid ounces. As shown below, the typical bottle has the conversion figures shown.

How Do You Abbreviate the Word Liter?

The only two internationally (SI) accepted abbreviations are:

  • L
  • l

A small L resembles in some ways the number one when typed. That would explain the reason for using the capital L.

The abbreviation shown as ltr is improper although commonly used.

Synonyms for the Word

Any term defining volume could be considered a synonym. An example is the word “volume” or quart. The term fluid ounce is another possibility. Other words such as gallon, milliliter, or centiliter might be considered synonyms. Many soda or soft drink bottles convert two liters to 67.63 fluid ounces.

When to Use the Abbreviation

The abbreviation of the capital L should be utilized when writing about metric measurements. Individuals familiar with the metric system will recognize the symbol. For consumers in the United States it is customary to write out two liters on a bottle and then convert that volume as shown above to quarts and fluid ounces. Those are concepts people who have always used the English system understand.

How to Use the Abbreviation in Sentence Form

  • The container holds 3L.
  • Mix in 2L of water to make the desired drink.
  • A L is a recognized manner of measuring volume.

Any sentence written in a document outside the United States will contain the same abbreviation even though liter has a different spelling.

In a strange way, the word liter has entered the vocabulary of Americans thanks to the soda industry. Two liters is an even number and has value over an uneven measurement. The bottles could be two quarts. Two liters provides just a little more volume or liquid. It is important to understand that L or l are the correct abbreviations even if they do not appear on that soft drink bottle.


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