Just about any site mentioning Raspberry Pi computer will say it's credit card sized. Yes, length and width of Raspberry Pi exactly match those of a credit card, but a creadit card is 0.76 millimeters thick and Raspberry Pi is 17 millimeters thick and so it's 22,4 times thicker.

In my native language being 22 times thicker than a credit card disqualifies a thing from being credit card sized even when length and width match those of a credit card.

In English what exactly does credit card sized mean? Does it include all dimensions or only length and width?


The term "credit card sized" generally just refers to the two longest dimensions. It is not normally used to indicate that the object is also the same thickness as a credit card.

  • 2
    As I recall, PCMCIA cards were also commonly referred to as "credit card sized", which they were (except thicker). Wikipedia states the size as "85.6 mm long and 54.0 mm wide, the same size as a credit card". Note that even the thinnest PCMCIA card type ("Type 1") is 3.3 mm thick, and the non-standard Type 4 is 16 mm thick. – a CVn Jul 27 '12 at 9:34

Credit card sized simply means it is approximately the size of a credit card. In this case, the usage is somewhat unfortunate as it does not approximate the thickness very well. There is no idiomatic usage of the term.


Context is everything.

In this context:

picture of a Raspberry Pi next to a ruler

it is clear that "credit-card sized" refers to the size of the circuit board, rather than the size of the board + the components soldered onto it.


I don't really understand the objection. In both cases, the thickness is an order of magnitude smaller than the length and width. To my mind, both 0.76mm and 17mm are "much smaller" than 86mm

  • As it's generally used, "credit card sized" means "I can put it in my wallet." Clearly you couldn't put a fully-populated Raspberry Pi in your wallet; hence the objection. – MT_Head Jul 30 '12 at 6:56

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