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JLeslie's avatar

If you live in a metric country: Do you use the terms dozen and half dozen?

Asked by JLeslie (62437points) January 10th, 2015

My husband hates when someone uses the terms dozen or half dozen, because he says he needs to pause to convert what that means. He says it’s because he grew up in metric. I don’t think of it as a metric thing. Is it? I think it’s because he is ESL, or maybe Mexico doesn’t use the terms. I don’t really know though, I’m just assuming my husband is making no sense. LOL. For me, dozen and half dozen doesn’t take translation in my head, they just mean 12 and 6 respectively. Like saying angry or mad in America.

Forget the term bakers dozen, then he’s pissed. “Just say 13!”

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115 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes. There is no way to “convert” these, because they are not units, just numbers.

I’m not sure people still commonly use the term baker’s dozen for thirteen. I can imagine saying this in a bakery and getting a blank stare.

Adagio's avatar

NZ has been metric since the 1970s but people still buy a dozen eggs, I can’t imagine asking for 12 or 6 eggs. I sometimes use dozen for a group of other things, depends on my mood, nothing is set in stone, whatever feels right at the time for me.

JLeslie's avatar

More information:

We were watching TV when someone used dozen for something that was not related to baking. After your answers I decided to ask him if he uses dozen for eggs, because I thought that was a really good point about the eggs. He launched into an explanation that when he was growing up they bought eggs in a big corrugated thing that had no cover. He has no idea how many were in it.

@dappled_leaves I think it is true that a lot of people don’t know what a baker’s dozen is, even if they work in a bakery. However, there are still some places around that give you the 13th bagel or donut free. Not many, but they still exist here and there in America.

Edit: I just asked my husband how to say dozen in Spanish and it is docena. Basically, it sounds the same. Dose-sen-a.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, here too (my bagels came by the baker’s dozen this week) – but I think these days it shows the age of the establishment.

Adagio's avatar

@JLeslie I think he might have been referring to a tray, containing 30 eggs.

JLeslie's avatar

He says it did look like the tray. He said they were fresh, and they didn’t refrigerate them. Back in the day people didn’t refrigerate them necessarily in America either.

I asked him if they bought baked goods by the dozen and he said no.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

AS you know I am a Canadian and this country has been metric for years and we still use dozen, half dozen type thing all the time, and so does everyone I know.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Tell him to order eggs by the meter and see how it works. Hey, I’m actually bilingual in a form. I can do feet or meters.

zenvelo's avatar

So is that why beer seems to come in a four pack now? A four pack is a metric six pack? :-)

Damn metric system, a way to charge the same amount and give you less. Get metric booze and they round the fifth down to 750 ml. and charge the same. But buy a liter instead of a quart and they charge 25% more.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m thinking maybe he thought it had to do with growing up in metric, because there are 12 inches in a foot. Or, just that it isn’t 10, or a multiple of 10. I don’t know the history behind baked goods and eggs being sold by the dozen. I guess any measure that needs to be converted in his head he assumes is the metric thing.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

A four pack of beer seems wrong. On so many levels.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t know there are 4 packs of beer. I see 4 packs of wine coolers and coffee drinks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well the perfect ten used to be a four and a six pack. Now we have to go to two four packs and a two?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I do yes. I grew up using imperial measurements, went through the transition to metric for at least some things and Australia uses metric. I still find myself saying, we need a dozen or half a dozen eggs. I don’t think I’ve ever used the term ‘baker’s dozen’ but I know what it is. I still use imperial for my height but metric for my weight! I have to use metric for my height on forms but in my head I think 5’ 5”.

JLeslie's avatar

Lord, now he is analyzing a bunch of measurements. Hahahaha. He just heard on the TV that 500 ml’s is two cups. Then he had me thinking it through. So, a pint is similar to half a liter, so then a quart is a liter? I never thought about it. I don’t try to convert much. Haven’t since the 70’s when we had to do it in school. Generally, I try to just be in the one measuring system or the other. I guess since he grew up in one system and lives in the other he is always converting. He still doesn’t estimate a foot well, or a cup, after living here 30 years.

gailcalled's avatar

Docena is pronounced dose-sen-a?

A liter is a squeak more than a quart.

And there is also una media docena.

JLeslie's avatar

Doe-sen-a. Or, maybe doe-sen-na is more accurate. Basically, when speaking, it is very similar to dozen with an a on the end. Dozena is what I thought at first when he said it. Spanish speaking people make fun that English speakers will just add and a or o on the end of a word in English to make it Spanish, but it works a lot of the time.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure, there is media everything. It just means half. Well, it can mean sock or hose also.

Mimishu1995's avatar

“Dozens” and “half dozen” is quiet common here. We have a word in our language that is always taught as “dozen”. I don’t see any connection between dozen and metric. No one here establishes a connection between them either. It’s just like a word in our language.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Six of one half dozen of the other. That’s what we say when trying to say it makes no difference. I don’t understand what a dozen has to do with metric, which is units of 10. A dozen things has nothing to do with 500 grams or .5 kilos or centimetres or…. I think he’s pulling your leg.

JLeslie's avatar

@trailsillustrated He was saying a dozen has to do with the American system. It appears to me, after talking to him more about it, and seeing these answers, that it has to do with his family, or possibly Mexico in general, doesn’t use the word dozen when describing 12 of something. Possibly bakers do there, I don’t know, but my husband didn’t grow up saying and hearing it. Similar to Americans don’t use score regularly in lieu of 20, but we could. He said, “docena or doce, doce is shorter. Media docena or seis. Seis is shorter.” Doce means 12 and seis means 6.

We use “six of one, half dozen of the other” in America too. He doesn’t like that saying.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We are cursed not having learned metric. Metric scientifically and practically makes sooo much more sense.

LuckyGuy's avatar

A dozen is a nice way to package and divide a group of single items. A dozen can be readily split into 2 halves, 3 thirds, 4 quarters, 6 sixths. It is the result of mathematics not the Metric or Imperial system.

I thought the baker’s dozen, 13, was because every time I’ve gone to pick up a dozen bagels or doughnuts, one is always missing by the time I get home. (Coincidentally, there are crumbs on my shirt.) I am certain others have noticed the ~8% per trip evaporation rate of backed goods.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

..and lucky guy is correct. A dozen is twelve which is a number and not a unit.

gailcalled's avatar

I always find an extra bagel thrown in when I order a dozen at my local Bagel Café.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I did learn metric. I was a kid in the 70’s when we were supposed to change over. I know how to move the decimal around. KHDUDCM. I actually use centimeter regularly, because I think it is a better way to describe a little less than a half an inch, and I use miliimeter also.

Our system is ridiculously difficult for measuring when you need to convert smaller measurements to larger ones, and vice versa. For some things it’s just fine though in my opinion. Temperature and miles per hour are two that I think are ok, or it doesn’t make much difference to me anyway.

@LuckyGuy Funny.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@JLeslie I was in gradeschool in the 80’s when they had just started to give up teaching metric. I did not get a real taste until college and it was almost shocking to finally get how crappy the English system of units was.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I’m surprised to learn they have given up teaching it K-12. I didn’t know that they don’t even touch on it. I’m math oriented, so it doesn’t take long if you are math inclined to see why metric is so much easier.

Also, people in most areas of science basically have to learn metric.

ragingloli's avatar

Our cage-free eggs come in cartons of 10.

JLeslie's avatar

Interestingly, my husband doesn’t get all self righteous about metric. I’m way more outpsoken about America refusing to change over than my husband. Mostly, I think he just looks at it as part of the thing he had to adapt to moving from one country to another. He had to start using English regularly and using inches and feet. He always played American footbal, so a yard has been a part of his vocabulary his entire life.

@ragingloli Seriously? I only question you, because you are so often sarcastic. Has it always been ten? As long as you can remember?

ragingloli's avatar

I am always serious. And yes, as long as I can remember.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ragingloli @JLeslie Egg cartons in Japan are 10 as well.

@gailcalled You wrote: I always find an extra bagel thrown in when I order a dozen at my local Bagel Café.
So that’s where my missing bagels go! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t notice that when I was in Japan. Interesting. In Germany we didn’t go to the supermarket. What about bakery items in Germany? Are there special prices for a dozen? Or, an extra thrown in to make 13?

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy: (When you order a dozen cupcakes, you get only 11, or Is that frosting I see on your chin?)

Baker’s Dozen

“t’s widely believed that this phrase originated from the practice of medieval English bakers giving an extra loaf when selling a dozen in order to avoid being penalized for selling short weight. This is an attractive story and, unlike many that inhabit the folk memory, it appears to be substantially true.”

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled You made me think of another interesting point. My cupcake pan has 12 spaces. I wonder if that is common in metric countries? Or, do their recipes assume a different quantity of cupcakes? Or, maybe they are a different size cupcake? I guess with cupcakes you can always make them a little taller or shorter deoending on how much batter you have, or leave a space empty if you need to.

zenvelo's avatar

The beauty of the imperial system is that it is an analog to the real world. The numbers work out to be natural benchmarks.

For instance, Fahrenheit, about the hottest the weather gets, where temps\ turns from hot to unbearable, is 100, not 37 or 38. 38 means nothing to me, as a number it bears no meaning as an inflection point.

Same with Zero Fahrenheit being about as cold as it gets; anything colder is really cold. But Zero Celsius conveys nothing to me except maybe to grab a sweater.

And a quart is a handy measure, which is why liters are so useful, because they are roughly the same quantity. But the liter is a lousy measure for large volumes of liquid, but gallons are very useful. There is no good intermediary measure for volumes that one would use in everyday live. The standard volume measure in SI is the cubic meter. But who needs a cubic meter of anything except dirt or concrete?

The same with pounds versus kilograms. A kilogram of anything at the grocery store is too much of anything, way beyond the amount needed by a normal household.

longgone's avatar

Yes, eggs do come in tens here. It is either ten or six eggs per carton.

I have never received any extra items when ordering a dozen – but then, I hardly ever buy by the dozen.

Like others said, I understand the terms “dozen” and “half-dozen”, but don’t see a connection to the metric system.

ucme's avatar

I often give the wife a dozen red roses, one of my fave war movies is The Dirty Dozen.
A well worn term over here in englandtown when referring to a mass produced, readily available item is, “they’re ten to the dozen”

zenzen's avatar

For eggs and little else.

@zenvelo we buy sugar and flour, rice and beans and much more in one kilo packages. Small packets of spices and pretty much anything else go from 100 to 900 grams, etc.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@JLeslie “Similar to Americans don’t use score regularly in lieu of 20, but we could.”

Yes, that’s a good analogy.

@LuckyGuy If the baker’s dozen was related to missing bagels, it would mean 11 instead of 13!

@zenvelo That is an odd way to distinguish metric from Imperial. For example, the Celcius temperature scale is based on real physical phenomena: 0 is the freezing point of water, 100 is the boiling point of water. What temperature is “comfortable” is a terrible benchmark to base a temperature scale on. As we’ve seen in recent threads about the winter weather, different people are comfortable at very different temperatures. Not to mention that comfort is also affected by relative humidity, wind, and other factors.

Similarly, the other metric units are based on standardizable, physical phenomena, not things that vary from community to community and person to person.

ragingloli's avatar

@zenvelo
100°C is the boiling point of water.
0°C is the freezing point of water.
Both perfectly relatable values.
Fahrenheit means nothing to me.
A gallon means nothing to me.
A litre, or 1dm³, is perfectly understandable. A cube with 10 cm sides.
And the only reason a pound slips through as acceptable, is that it is roughly half a kg.
Sugar comes in kg packs.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Metric is by far the better system, and much easier to understand it only drives people crazy when they try to convert it back and forth.

zenvelo's avatar

The only reason a meter works is because it is about the same as a yard.

The only reason a liter works is because it is about the same as a quart.

100 Celsius is useless for me; water boils when it boils. 0 Celsius is also useless for understanding how it is outside. It’s not really cold.

100K is an afternoon bike ride; 100 mile bike ride is a meaningful accomplishment. A mile a minute is a safe yet rapid speed. A cm is too short for being useful.

Preferring digital over analog is distancing oneself from the natural world.

Metric measurements are arbitrary.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@zenvelo now and I say this politely would you, or can you name at least 2 or even one country that that is not the U.S.A that still uses S.A.E form of measurements to this day?

And while you may not like the Celsius scale it far easier to understand than the Fside.
0c freezing 100c boiling.simple same as tools next wrench up from a 10mm is an 11mm.
The world runs on the metric system, don’t know why the states can’t except that.

JLeslie's avatar

Now I’m thinking, why did soft drink brands like Pepsi and Coke, as American as it gets, even though they are obviously multinational brands, why did they switch to liter and two liter bottles long long ago, while beverages like milk stuck with pints and gallons?

@SQUEEKY2 There are a couple countries that still use it. I think one or two in Africa and one or two in Asia. Little ones. Not very developed if I remember correctly.

Then there are countries like the UK that mainly use metric, except thet stilluse MPH and quite often use stones and lbs for body weight. I’m not sure what is more unusual, the US not changing to metric, or the UK doing it half way?

@zenvelo Interesting way of looking at it. It’s the math that is hard in our system. If you need to figure out feet and inches you have to divide or multiply by 12. Not easy. Cups by 8, for ounces and pounds you are working in multiples of 16. In metric you just move the decimal. Something is 3.6 kilometers and you need to know how many meters? Easy, just move the decimal three places 3600 meters. Change 3.2 miles into yards or feet for me in your head.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does he ever say “a couple” to refer to two?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@JLeslie there are two besides the states that still use the old S.A.E system.
http://www.joeydevilla.com/2008/08/13/countries-that-dont-use-the-metric-system/

oh and only one of those are in Africa, and your right both are very small.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo I am frankly astonished that you don’t recognize the arbitrariness of your own Imperial examples. “I’m used to this” is not the same as “this objectively makes sense”.

After a decade of metric measurements, they would seem normal to you also, as they do to us. Humans are extremely adaptable (and not just non-American ones).

JLeslie's avatar

@dappled_leaves I guess in a way all measuring systems are arbitrary. Why is the boiling and freezing point of water so important?

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have no idea. I’ll watch for it.

hearkat's avatar

@JLeslie – Remind your husband that hours and months are also measured in base 12, and that might help him manage the ‘dozen’ references more easily.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@hearkat Indeed. “What is this noon of which you speak?”

rojo's avatar

I think it is easier to ask for a pint of stout than .4731 liters of it.

“Could I have almost a half liter of beer please?”

Nope, just doesn’t sound right no matter what country you are in.

ragingloli's avatar

or you could just ask for a glass.
novel idea, I know.

zenvelo's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Can you name a metric country that has put a man on the moon?

@dappled_leaves It’s analog, not digital, that is why it works so well.

everybody complains about he math. Math is easy, it can be don in the head. And everyone has a calculator now. At least using Imperial measures you aren’t get off on an order of magnitude.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo You have got to be trolling here… surely you remember the Mars orbiter that was lost because Americans used Imperial units??

Anyway, to say that it’s harder to do math in your head using metric is ridiculous. It’s as easy as moving a decimal point.

ragingloli's avatar

colonial rockets kept exploding on the launch pad, until the metric guy, von Braun, was put in charge.

rojo's avatar

“Could I have a glass?”

“Sure! Would you like something in it perhaps?”

“Um, Ok. How ‘bout almost a half liter of ale?”

Nah, still doesn’t work for me.

ragingloli's avatar

ask for 3.333333333333333333 imperial gills then if you want a colonial pint.
Because the imperial pint is different from the colonial pint.

gailcalled's avatar

Japanese koi have imperial gills also.

ragingloli's avatar

Or ask for 0.41633706648 imperial quarts.
what a consistent system.

JLeslie's avatar

Ugh, during my house build I constantly had to pull out a calculator to deal with measurement. The space is 114 inches, the item is 9 ft 3 inches, does it fit? It’s ridiculous.

The builders customer service person tried to tell me the 23.3 ft elevation would be around 23 ft 2 inches. No! Idiot. .3 feet 3/10 is closer to 4 inches.

ragingloli's avatar

Or ask for 133.33333333333333 imperial fluid drachms to get 1 colonial pint.

ragingloli's avatar

1 fluid drachm, as every school boy knows, provided your school was not free, is equal to 3 fluid scruples, or 60 minims

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ragingloli Indeed, and of course the dram is originally based on the weight of the barleycorn, obviously an analogue to the real world.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well six of one and half a centimeter the other doesn’t really make sense.

ragingloli's avatar

And so a “thou” is 1/1000th of an inch, for some reason, an inch is, for some reason, 1/12th of a foot.
a foot is for some reason ⅓rd of a yard.
a yard is, for some reason, ½2nd of a chain.
a chain is, for some reason, 1/10th of a furlong.
a furlong is, for some reason, 1/8th of a mile.
a mile is, for some reason, ⅓rd of a league.

then we have a fathom, which is 6 feet, for some reason.
a fathom is, for some reason, 1/100th of a cable,
and a cable is, for some reason, 1/10th of a nautical mile.

then we have 1 link, which is, for some reason, 66/100th of a foot.
25 links add up to 1 rod, for 4 rods add up to 1 chain.

multiply 1 rod by 1 rod, and you get an area of 1 perch.
you can also multiply 1 rod by 1 furlong, and you get 1 rood.
multiply 1 furlong by 1 chain however, and you get an acre.

in conclusion, the imperial system is retarded.

JLeslie's avatar

You don’t know how many times we had to ask, “4.6 feet? Or, 4 feet 6 inches?” In metric, not a problem.

ragingloli's avatar

Only if you happen to be soviet.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You don’t even know your history. Russia bailed in WWI

ragingloli's avatar

You do not know yours.
The outcome of both wars was already set by the time the colonies decided to show up to take the credit for the achievement of others.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
rojo's avatar

I resemble that remark! @Adirondackwannabe

trailsillustrated's avatar

There is the pint. Then if you really want to take a load off, there’s the imperial pint. Everyone knows what it is and it has nothing to do with anything else.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ragingloli We are all metric here (at work). There is never confusion. It drives me crazy when a customer refers to wind speed in knots . Knots?! Are you kidding me? We are in the 21st century!
It turns out that a knot is one nautical mile (1.852 km) per hour, approximately 1.151 mph. A vessel traveling at 1 knot along a meridian travels approximately one minute of geographic latitude in one hour. Seriously? Is that useful? On my planet we have a satellite navigation system and clocks and gyroscopes the size of USB sticks (or smaller) that tells us our speed and direction. Knots?! Sheesh!

JLeslie's avatar

Knots? LOL. Knots sounds good for the weekend fun trip in the Gulf of Mexico maybe.

rojo's avatar

It seems that the problems come about when converting from one system (Metric, knots, whatever) to another. Most of us are familiar with one and, except for people like @LuckyGuy, uncomfortable when it comes to jumping into another.

I know how long a foot is, or what a pound of something weighs because I deal with it on a daily basis without thinking about it but when faced with something measured using the metric system I end up converting it back into feet and inches or lbs and ounces mentally before it becomes relevant to me.

jca's avatar

Knots reminds me of a whaling expedition LOL.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo my point is can you easily “convert” 12.7 ft into the exact amount of inches if everything needs to be in inches? Even 3.7 feet? Can you do it in your head to the exact number? To the correct amount of 12ths or 16ths? Hopefully, your ruler has the little lines you need to be very accurate? It has become less of a problem since we have calculators on out phones and can digitally program cutting tools. Although, most people don’t have digital equipment to saw something at home.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rojo
I grew up with the Imperial/Englis system but have been using Metric for the past 35 years. I am “biunital” now. I don’t need to convert units. Like speaking Japanese, I don’t translate the words. They are what they are.
I know what things look like in metric: a kilo of this, 250 gm of that, 30 ml of shot of vodka.
30C is a hot day. 20C is comfortable. 10C is a bit cold so I need a sweater, it is the limit where I will ride my motorcycle. 0C is freezing. Ice and snow will form.

Humans grow accustomed to new normals quickly if they have to. We don’t even know how archaic things are until we see something else.
Here’s an example Japanese money is in Yen (proununced “en” like the letter “N”) The coins are 1,5, 10, 50, 100, 500. The bills are 1000, 5000, 10000 ... see the pattern? They call the coins and bills (translating) 1 yen , 5 yen 10 yen…. exactly what they are.
Now look at American money: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 cents; 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100… dollars. We call the coins: penny, nickel, dime, quarter…. That was really confusing for my kids when they came to the US. What is a dime?
We have been using US money all our lives so we don’t see anything strange.
“Biunital” people notice the quirks. ~It also doubles dating possibilities. ;-)

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Why would you ever have to convert 12.7 feet? Why wouldn’t you say 12 feet 8 inches? You don’t convert 12 feet 8 inches into 3.86 meters; you round it.

@dappled_leaves The lost orbiter was as much a problem with NASA using metric; Lockheed Martin followed the spec.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I kid you knot, I have a headache and I need a metric ton of beer.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@zenvelo Remember when the market used fractions? XYZ up ¼, ABC down 9/16, DEF at 27 1/8. When they first switched, remember the complaints from the “grey beards”?
I’ll bet they wouldn’t consider going back now.
Let’s butterfly with 0.02 on the spread.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There is another reason to go metric. Trade. All the other countries on the world (except for the two other world powerhouses: Burma and Liberia) use it.
If we want to sell our products outside of the US we had better match the receiving and inspection and engineering departments of our intended customers. To sell auto parts in Japan, S Korea, Germany, etc., they had better be in Metric or the bolts won’t fit.
Assuming quality, performance and price are equal if we make it difficult for the customer to use our components they will go to the supplier that speaks the same unit language.

Back in my previous life I was providing control system to Japanese customers. they insisted all the drawing have metric values on them so their receiving and inspection dept could readily check and compare with the Japanese supplier’s part. Our (US) side insisted they have the English units so they compromised and put both. The prints looked like a joke. It cost us way more than anyone realized in lost sales, print confusion, extra engineering effort, errors. Ugh!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It made for a nice niche for the Crescent Wrench company.

zenvelo's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe was that a metric crescent wrench?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Metric hammer, too.
The Japanese, and many others, call the 2 basic types of screwdrivers: ”+” and ” – ”. “plus” and “minus”
That makes more sense than “Phillips” and “Flat head”.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@zenvelo I don’t think it cared.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo “The lost orbiter was as much a problem with NASA using metric; Lockheed Martin followed the spec.”

Sure, inasmuch as NASA did not think to require the output in metric, to match the units on their instruments. Not the shining example of technical brilliance you were making them out to be.

gailcalled's avatar

An imperial gill is my new measure of choice of volume, although a large noggin is a tempting second choice (Or the dram. I quart = 256 drams.)

“In Great Britain, the standard single measure of spirits in a pub was 1⁄6 gill (23.7 ml) in England, and 1⁄5 gill (28.4 ml) in Scotland; after metrication this was replaced by either 25 or 35 ml (0.176— or 0.246-gill) measures (landlords can choose which one to serve).

The 1⁄4 gill was previously the most common measure in Scotland, and still remains as the standard measure in pubs in Ireland. In southern England, it is also called a noggin. In northern England, however, the large noggin is used, which is two gills. In some areas, a gill came to mean half a pint for both beer and milk.

In Ireland, the standard spirit measure was historically 1⁄4 gill. In the Republic of Ireland, it still retains this value, though it is now legally specified in metric units as 35.5 ml.

A convenient method to remember the conversion from gill to litres is that 1 imperial gill = π – 3 litres, accurate to 3 d.p.” Source(unit)

rojo's avatar

I recall when they went metric in England. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that my relatives issued for years afterwards!

Now, even the older ones are so accustomed to it they consider me a relic because I buy my gas by the gallon and get my coat out when it is 32 degrees outside.

zenvelo's avatar

So metric folks, how do you measure a delivery of firewood? Here in the US, a cord of wood will get most people through most winters.

A cord is firewood stacked 4 feet deep, 4 feet high, eight feet long. Most logs are cut in two foot lengths, so it’s two rows of firewood stacked four feet high and 8 feet long.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^ 749.2 imperial gills.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@zenvelo A US firewood cord would be about 4 cubic meters. (3.62)
I’d guess they buy it 1 cubic meter at a time. About 4 ft x 4 ft x 2 ft

By the way I go through ~5 full cords, 15 face cord per year – almost all from my property.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo You can still find wood sold by the cord here, but it’s also sold in stacked cubic metres. A cubic metre is about a quarter of a cord.

@LuckyGuy Hey, you beat me to it.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo When building my house my builder would use feet and inches sometimes and feet using the decimal other times. The cabinet subcontractor always used inches. So, the sub would say a space was 106 inches, and then to check it against the plan I had to convert her measurement, or the builders measurement. It happened constantly with many things. If it all had been metric I wouldn’t need to convert anything, except maybe move a decimal. I don’t need a calculator to move a decimal.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie But every body knows 106 inches is 8 feet 10 inches, 9 feet is 108 inches. That’s why we learned the times table up to 12×12.

In Metric countries, do kids just learn the times table up to 10×10?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo No, we still need to be able to tell time.

Also see the title of this question.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t memorize up to 12×12. Plus, that doesn’t solve having to convert 7/10 into x/12.

Even if I memorized 9 feet is 108 inches, which I didn’t, it’s still more difficult than moving a decimal.

Jaxk's avatar

It would seem that the easiest method is the one you are used to. At least with imperial measurements I have a reference point. A foot is the length of the kings foot. An inch is the distance from the tip of my thumb to the first knuckle. A yard is the length of my stride. I don’t know what the hell a meter is. Nor do I know how many decimal points to move for a centimeter nor which way.and I have no intuitive method to recognize when I’ve done it wrong.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, for sure the metric system is much, much simpler….but we just don’t use it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Jaxk the metric system is based on 10, not 12.
So 1 meter is 0.0001 meter.
A centimeter is 0.01 meter.
1 meter is 100 Centimeters
1 kilometer is 100000 centimeters.
It’s really very nice and neat. It’s just a matter of moving the decimal up and down a number line in increments of 10.

FYI in my head 1 meter ~ 1 yard, only just a little more. 1 meter is 1.09361 of a yard.

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III – My point is that it starts with an arbitrary measure (the meter). I have no reference point, nothing to relate to. Base 10 is logical, I agree with that but the starting point is the problem. 1.09361 of my stride is not an easy starting point to visualize.

Dutchess_III's avatar

12 is a far more arbitrary measure than 10, though. But I know what you’re saying. I don’t use them at all when I build stuff. It’s just not what I’m used to. And when I do hear the terms, I immediately convert it to roughly the closest base 12 measurement.

ragingloli's avatar

Because barleycorns and feet are all the same size, and the decision which foot or barleycorn to use as the defining size is not at all arbitrary.

Jaxk's avatar

@ragingloli – How many times, in your life have you used or even heard someone use Barleycorns as a measurement. That measure has already gone the way of the Dodo Bird. I may not have a size 12 foot but I can visualize it. It gives me a starting point. That is my only argument against the metric system. Celsius is quite reasonable in that I can easily see boiling and freezing as a starting point. But meters, I get nothing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was the king’s feet that were used.

ragingloli's avatar

There are a lot of kings.

ragingloli's avatar

By the way, the original definition of the metre was “one ten-millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator along the meridian through Paris”.
Which is arguably less arbitrary than some random king’s incest-deformed foot.

Jaxk's avatar

Well that certainly puts things in perspective. One ten-millionth of the distance to the equator is certainly easy to visualize.

NovDel's avatar

I live in a sort-of-metric country, and yes, eggs are still sold by the dozen/half-dozen but also in boxes of 10. ‘Dozen’ comes from French ’douzaine’ meaning ‘a number of twelve’ as in ‘Une douzaine d’œufs, s’il vous plaît’. I knew that French I learned at school would come in handy one day.

NovDel's avatar

@Jaxk The current definition is ‘the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum in
one 299,792,458th of a second’

That makes much more sense.

Jaxk's avatar

I just took my driving test so how does that relate to ‘car lengths”?

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