65

Lībra in Latin originally means ‘stone’, thence ‘pound weight’ (i.e., the little stone you put on scales to weigh things), thence ‘pound’ (the weight of one of those stones), and only from that was the meaning generalised to mean ‘weight’ in general. The phrase lībra pondō ‘a pound by weight’ was then used to refer unambiguously to the second meaning. The ...


41

The most likely answer is: It Depends. If I go to the store and buy half a dozen eggs, half a dozen donuts, and half a dozen muffins, I'm going to be extremely annoyed if when I get home I find only 5 eggs, 5 donuts, and 5 muffins in the packages. On the other hand, if I am complaining about the length of the checkout line, I might say "look at this! ...


37

In What Is the Real Name of the #?, a good explanation of this sign is given. Technically, it's called the octothorpe. Called the pound sign, number sign and more recently the hashtag, it actually developed as a scribble for the abbreviation of pound in latin: lb, where lb is an abbreviation of libra, itself a shortened form of the full expression, libra ...


33

Technically, anything after a comma in an ingredients list should happen after measuring. As this answer on the cooking stackexchange says, "1 cup of chopped nuts" is measured after chopping. "1 cup of nuts, chopped" is measured before chopping. Any proper cookbook or professional recipe will follow this convention. However, in this day ...


29

Related to this question is the fact that another symbol was also originally derived from the word libra. This is the symbol £, which is an ornate letter "L" (from libra), now used to denote the Pound sterling, more commonly referred to as the British pound (ISO code GBP). Prior to 'decimalisation' in February 1971, British currency followed the structure ...


29

The question assumes that if metric is dominant, then we need alternatives for non-metric idioms. But this is incorrect. We can still use whichever idioms we want. There are plenty of phrases and idioms using obsolete terms. We understand the meaning without knowing their origin. No problem. There are officially metric countries that sell TVs, monitors, ...


26

The W3 standard uses: hh:mm:ss For simple timestamp, with no seconds, try: 1h54m or: 01h54m Both are readily parsed by a computer due to the h and m and indicating the end of the numeric.


21

There may be no consensus among the standards bodies, but outside of technical writing at least, it doesn't matter what the ISO says. Modern U.S. usage overwhelmingly uses no space. Note that Wikipedia uses no space, as in the article for Percentage. Demonstration As a demonstration, one can download the first billion bytes of an English Wikipedia database ...


21

After having consulted a number of resources [1] [2] [3], I have concluded that there is currently no synonym of inching that is based on a metric word. It takes time for such expressions to develop, and I'd be surprised if a phrase like "centimeter forward" ever evolved. But what do I know? Anyway, until (and probably even after) ...


18

Curiously, the OED says: half-dozen | half-a-dozen The half of a dozen; six (or about six). In its quotes, it does not distinguish when it means 6 and when it means ~6. But for dozen, the OED does not depart from 12. dozen A group or set of twelve. Originally as a n., followed by of, but often with ellipsis of of, and thus, in singular = twelve. Also, ...


17

Centisecond, while valid, is an extremely rarely used unit, as is hectometer or decaliter. You either measure "hundredths of second" or tens of milliseconds. In engineering, milliseconds are preferable. In sports hundredths are the defacto standard; as Jim said: fourteen and five hundredths of a second.


17

No, units generally do not need capitalization when spelled out. For SI units, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures is the authority: Unit names are normally printed in roman (upright) type, and they are treated like ordinary nouns. In English, the names of units start with a lower-case letter (even when the symbol for the unit begins with a ...


16

Be not afraid, in Russia we still use expressions that employ long-passed away names of measurement units like versta, sazhen and arshin. For example, a lanky guy could be called "a versta of Kolomna", since centuries ago mile posts (actually, versta posts) installed by the Tzar's decree along the road from Moscow to Kolomna were exceptionally high. A ...


14

In Australia we want "metric" starting with decimal currency (dollars) in 1966, and ending with Real Estate measurements in 1987. The bulk of the conversion occurred in the 1974 to 1978 period, where almost every measurement for legal purposes was required to be in SI units. Having an English heritage and ingrained use of Imperial measurements meant that we ...


14

Inches (like seconds of arc and seconds of time) are denoted by the double prime mark, not a quotation mark, although for ease of typing, it is common to see the straight quotation mark (the "dumb quote" found on most computer keyboards) used in its place. The most typographically correct presentation would be 4⅝ × 3¾″ and not ∅ 4⅝ × 3¾" ...


13

You should use an en-dash rather than a hyphen for ranges (– rather than -). Most style-guides would have you not use spaces either. (If someone else will be typesetting it, then a hyphen is okay in the typescript they will be working from, though this concession to the restrictions of typewriters is, like underline to show you mean italics and so on, less ...


13

The metric equivalent is "inching". Words move on from their original meaning, and "to inch" means "to move slowly", regardless of what units you actually use to measure distances. Likewise, people quite happily "dial" on a telephone that has no dial and, after somebody dials your number, your phone "rings", even though it has no bell.


11

When you use a quantity and a unit as an adjective, the unit is singular: A 200-pound man... A 280-calorie snack... When the unit is used as a noun, it's plural (unless the quantity is one, of course): 200 pounds of man crashed down on me... I enjoyed those 280 calories...


10

Mileage can certainly be used without having to be associated with literal miles. Freedictionary defines it as an informal noun, meaning usefulness, or how much service something has provided, or may provide. Cambridge dictionaries defines it as an advantage that can be obtained from a situation A person may get good mileage out of a situation, ...


9

The SI unit for time is Seconds (s). Hours (h) and minutes (min) are accepted to be used within the SI even if not standardised. In scientific writing you should probably stick to those abbreviations (note that it's 60 min not 60 mins). In common usage all your examples should be understandable. As is, for instance, the 5'10" style for feet-inches


9

You would say: Acres and acres of plywood floor Because floorage is an areal measure. Afternote (Text rescued from potentially ephemeral comments.) Because I couldn’t see how the asker’s two exemplars of tons of food and miles of road made any literal (read: “literal-literal” as opposed to hyperbolic) sense in the case of your run-of-the-mill single-...


9

The arbitrary units of old had centuries to be the basis for words and phrases. While the modern (US) inch is from the 20th century. Inches of variable lengths have been since at least the 1300s in current spelling. Wikipedia claims even a first occurrence from 700 AD. inch (n.1) "linear measure, one-twelfth of a foot," late Old English ynce, ...


8

You can use either of U+202F NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE or just plain U+00A0 NO-BREAK SPACE, but you certainly should not let it risk being line-broken. I’m not so sure that the thinness matters half so much as the no-break property. You do not want to let the figures get orphaned without their units.


8

According to the SI system (guide here: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/pdf/sp811.pdf), acceptable options are 200 35 mm circles, 200 35-millimeter circles, 200 circles of 35 mm diameter. The pertinent rules from the guide above are: 7.2. Space between numerical value and unit symbol In the expression for the value of a quantity, the unit symbol is ...


8

This isn't really about English, but Latin. However, since Latin.SE hasn't got off the ground yet, here is as good a place as any to answer. Librum is Latin for 'a pound in weight'. It is also Latin for 'a pound weight' (that you put on one side of the scales), and 'weight' as an abstract concept. (The three are closely connected in all languages; whether ...


8

The sign has multiple names and meanings: Per Wikipedia: The symbol is a Number Sign in North America with Pound Sign making in-roads as a name. Outside North America it has always been called a Hash Sign. With the advent of Twitter, hash or hashtag (named for the act of tagging with a hash sign) has become very popular in North America, too. The ...


8

Hashtag Wikipedia The use of the hash symbol in IRC inspired Chris Messina to propose a similar system to be used on Twitter to tag topics of interest on the microblogging network. He posted the first hashtag on Twitter: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?" —Chris Messina, ("factoryjoe"), August ...


8

As any other unit of measurement, bit also has its plural form - bits. 20 bits of data is received. The capacity of this medium is 200 bits. Using the singular form in both sentences would be wrong. If you use just the single-digit version - b, you do not need to put the s at the end: 200b. Maybe in some contexts, where each of the separate bits is not so ...


7

Some adjectives can only be used to modify nouns, for example the adjective indoor. We can talk about: indoor swimming pools But we don't usually say: *The pool was indoor (not good) We call adjectives that appear before nouns attributive adjectives. The adjective indoor is called an attributive only adjective. Other adjectives can't usually be used ...


7

half year noun 1: one half of a year (as January to June or July to December) 2: one of two academic terms : semester — half–yearly adverb or adjective Origin of half year: ME See also: 'Half-year convention' is a principle of United States taxation law.


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