April A to Z: K is for Kilo – The Metric System #atozchallenge


By Niall McArdle

The French have given us some interesting things over the years, like decent coffee, modern ideas of democracy, and terribly chic women.


They’ve also given the world The Metric System, or en FrancaisMètre des Archives

In 1799 the French decided that a standard metre would be “one ten-millionth of a quadrant of the Earth,” and that one kilogramme would be “the mass of a cubic decimetre of water.”


The Metric System had its detractors, mostly those who adhered to Imperial Measures, or even to some of the odder traditional measures, but it has become the globally accepted standard of weights and measures … except for the United States.

I still miss the old measures a little bit: in fact, more than a zolotnik.


It gets a bit confusing if you only know the metric system when visiting out of the way places in Ireland or the UK, as you will still see road signs in miles. Many people still think in inches, feet, yards, miles, acres, ounces, pounds, and stone. If you’re tackling anything, you may want this handy converter.


And in Ireland people still talk about an Irish mile (longer than an English mile).

If you’re in the mood for coffee (an ounce, a dram, 250ml, a smidgeon, or whatever), then you might want to check out another A to Z blogger, Over A Cup of Coffee.


5 thoughts on “April A to Z: K is for Kilo – The Metric System #atozchallenge

  1. I am one of those that still thinks in the old (and best) ways Niall.
    I did learn one good rhyme to help convert things though. ‘A litre of water’s a pint and three quarters’.
    Two 75cl bottles of wine still get me half-pissed, and a kilo of sugar is ‘about’ two normal 1lb bags.
    Then again, I still think in old money. When I see something advertised for 75p, I think ‘fifteen shillings is a lot for that’.
    Cheers mate, Pete.


  2. Niiice – love the nod to Pulp Fiction! As a scientist, I am rather pleased with using the metric system – units of length and mass are so much more simple than miles and pounds, in my opinion. But what’s the world without a bit of diversity and different ways to see the same thing? A boring and uniform place, is my guess… 😉


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