Showing posts with label Libra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Libra. Show all posts

Jun 9, 2017

Pounds and Ounces

These words must seem weird to those who follow the metric system, so a bit of history might help explain. The Latin word Libra is abbreviated to 'lb'. Libra is widely known as the astrological sign for balance, but it was also part of the Roman unit of weight, libra pond, which translates to “pound weight." Britain derived pound from that expression as its unit of measurement and also as a term for its currency because centuries ago, a pound in money was considered equal to the value of a pound of silver.

Ounces - The Spanish ounce (Onza) was 1⁄16 of a pound. It is a unit of mass used in most British systems of measurement. It is most pervasive in the retail sale of groceries in the United States, but is also used in many other matters of domestic and international trade between imperial or customary measurement driven countries.

Mar 21, 2014

Wordology, Lb

Did you ever wonder why we use the Lb abbreviation for pound? Lb is an abbreviation of the Latin word libra. The primary meaning of libra was balance or scales (as in the astrological sign), but it also stood for the ancient Roman unit of measure libra pondo, meaning “a pound by weight.” The word “pound” in English from the pondo part of the libra pondo but the abbreviation comes from the libra. The libra is also why the symbol for the British pound is £, an L with a line through it. The Italian lira also used that symbol (with two lines through it), the word “lira” itself being a shortened version of libra.

“Ounce” is related to the Latin uncia, the name for both the Roman ounce and inch units of measurement. The word came into English from Anglo-Norman French, where it was unce or ounce, but the abbreviation was borrowed from Medieval Italian, where the word was onza. These days the Italian word is oncia, and the area once covered by the Roman Empire has long since switched to the metric system.