How Do You Abbreviate Measurements (Miles, Inches, Meters, etc.)?

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Knowing how to abbreviate measurements in both the Imperial and Metric systems can be challenging. There are usually several different ways to abbreviate these measurements and you want to make sure that you’re abbreviating them in the right way. Below we cover how to abbreviate some of the most popular measurement lengths in both systems.

How do you abbreviate mile?

You abbreviate the word mile with: mi. or mi. For plural (as in miles), you use the same.

A mile is 5280 feet, 1760 yards, or approximately 1.6 kilometers. It is used as a unit of measurement in the Imperial measurement system which is still used by old British colonies including the US. Miles are frequently used to describe distance, but can also be used to describe speed such as miles-per-hour (MPH) or gas consumption with miles-per-gallon (MPG). Variants include the nautical mile (NM) which is defined as exactly 1852 meters (about 1.15 miles).

Example:

  • Los Angeles is 2,789.97 mi away from New York by car
  • The moon is 238,900 mi. from Earth.

How do you abbreviate yard?

You abbreviate the word yard with: yd. or yd. These abbreviations work for the plural form as well, but informally you can write: yds.

A yard is three feet. The yard originated from the Old English word “gerd” or “gyrd” which meant branch or stave. The yard was approximately the length of a branch and was used to measure laned for tax assessment.

Example:

  • A football field is 100 yd. long.

How do you abbreviate foot?

You abbreviate the word foot with: ‘, ft., or ft. This also is true for the plural form feet.

A foot is 12 inches. As the name suggests, the word “foot” came from the literal use of a foot for measurement. The modern foot is equivalent to a human foot with shoe size of 13 (UK), 14 (US male), 15.5 (US female) or 47 (EU sizing).

Example:

  • The wall was 9 ft. long.
  • He was exactly 6″ tall.

How do you abbreviate inch?

You abbreviate the word inch with: “, in., or in. The same is true for the plural form “inches.”

An inch is 1/12 of a foot.

Example:

  • The spider was 1 in. across.

How do you abbreviate fathom?

You abbreviate the word fathom with: fm.

A fathom is six feet. Fathom is a less common word in English and tends to be used when measuring water. It originated from the Old English word fæðm, cognate to the Danish (via the Vikings) word “favn” meaning embracing arms or a pair of outstretched arms. It was originally measured as the span of a man’s outstretched arms and was approximately 1/1000 of a nautical mile.

How do you abbreviate light-year?

You abbreviate the word light-year with: ly or ly.

One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km).

Example:

  • The Alpha Centauri system is an average of 4.3 ly from Earth.

How do you abbreviate kilometer?

You abbreviate the word kilometer with: K, k, km., or km.

A kilometer is one thousand meters. “Kilo” comes from the Greek word for one thousand. Runners typically use the capitalized “K” to abbreviate the lengths of runs such as a 5K or a 10K.

How do you abbreviate meter?

You abbreviate the word meter with: m.

A meter is 100 centimeters. A meter is equal to 39.37 inches, or slightly more than three feet.

How do you abbreviate centimeter?

You abbreviate the word centimeter with: cm.

A centimeter is one-hundredth of a meter.

How do you abbreviate millimeter?

You abbreviate the word millimeter with: mm.

A millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter.

How do you abbreviate micrometer?

You abbreviate the word micrometer with: μm.

A micrometer is one-millionth of a meter.

 

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