You are on page 1of 5


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search
For other uses, see Ounce (disambiguation).
The ounce (abbreviated oz; apothecary symbol: ℥) is a unit of mass, weight, or volume used in
most British derived customary systems of measurement. The common avoirdupois
ounce (approximately 28.3 g) is 1⁄16 of a common avoirdupois pound; this is the United States
customary and British imperial ounce. It is primarily used in the United States to measure packaged
foods and food portions, postal items, areal density of fabric and paper, boxing gloves, and so on;
but sometimes also elsewhere in the Anglosphere.
Besides the common ounce, several other ounces are in current use:

 The troy ounce of about 31.1 g is used for the mass of precious metals such as gold, silver,
platinum, palladium, rhodium, etc.
 The ounce-force is a measure of weight, that is, force.
 The fluid ounce is a measure of volume.
Historically, a variety of different ounces measuring mass or volume were used in different
jurisdictions by different trades.


 1Etymology
 2Definitions
o 2.1Currently in use
 2.1.1International avoirdupois ounce
 2.1.2International troy ounce
 2.1.3Metric ounces
o 2.2Historical
 2.2.1Apothecaries' ounce
 2.2.2Maria Theresa ounce
 2.2.3Spanish ounce
 2.2.4Tower ounce
 3Ounce-force
 4Fluid ounce
 5Other uses
o 5.1Fabric weight
o 5.2Copper layer thickness of a printed circuit board
 6Notes and references
 7External links

Ounce derives from Latin uncia, a unit that was one-twelfth (1⁄12)[1] of
the Roman pound (libra). Ounce was borrowed twice: first into Old English as ynsan or yndsan from
an unattested Vulgar Latin form with ts for c before i (palatalization) and second into Middle
English through Anglo-Norman and Middle French (unce, once, ounce).[2] The abbreviation oz came
later from the cognate Italian word onza (now spelled oncia).
Inch comes from the same Latin word, but differs because it was borrowed into Old English and
underwent i-mutation or umlaut ([u] → [y]) and palatalization ([k] → [tʃ]).[citation needed]

Historically, in different parts of the world, at different points in time, and for different applications, the
ounce (or its translation) has referred to broadly similar but different standards of mass.

Mass of ounce units

Variant (grams) (grains)

International avoirdupois ounce 28.349523125 437.5

International troy ounce

31.1034768 480
Apothecaries' ounce

Maria Theresa ounce 28.0668

Spanish ounce (onza) 28.75

French ounce (once) 30.59

Portuguese ounce (onça) 28.69

Roman/Italian ounce (oncia) 27.4

Dutch metric ounce (ons) 100

Dutch (pre-metric) ounce (ons) 30

Chinese metric ounce (盎司) 50

Mass of ounce units

Variant (grams) (grains)

English Tower Ounce 29.16 450

Currently in use[edit]
International avoirdupois ounce[edit]
The international avoirdupois ounce is defined as exactly 28.349523125 g under the international
yard and pound agreement of 1959, signed by the United States and countries of
the Commonwealth of Nations.
In the avoirdupois system, sixteen ounces make up an avoirdupois pound, and the avoirdupois
pound is defined as 7000 grains; one avoirdupois ounce is therefore equal to 437.5 grains.
The ounce is still a standard unit in the United States. In the United Kingdom it ceased to be a legal
unit of measure in 2000, but is still in general usage on an informal basis. In addition it is the normal
measure for portion sizes in British restaurants.[3]
International troy ounce[edit]
Main article: Troy ounce
A troy ounce is equal to 480 grains. Consequently, the international troy ounce is equal to exactly
31.1034768 grams. There are 12 troy ounces in the now obsolete troy pound.
Today, the troy ounce is used only to express the mass of precious metals such
as gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium or silver. Bullion coins are the most common products
produced and marketed in troy ounces, but precious metal bars also exist in gram and kilogram (kg)
sizes. (A kilogram bullion bar contains 32.15074657 troy ounces.)
For historical measurement of gold,

 a fine ounce is a troy ounce of pure gold content in a gold bar, computed as fineness multiplied
by gross weight[4]
 a standard ounce is a troy ounce of 22 carat gold, 91.66% pure (an 11 to 1 proportion of gold
to alloy material)
Metric ounces[edit]
Some countries have redefined their ounces in the metric system.[5] For example, the German
apothecaries ounce of 30 grams, is very close to the previously widespread Nuremberg ounce, but
the divisions and multiples come out in metric.
In 1820, the Dutch redefined their ounce (in Dutch, ons) as 100 grams.[6][7] Dutch amendments to the
metric system, such as an ons or 100 grams, has been inherited, adopted, and taught
in Indonesia beginning in elementary school. It is also listed as standard usage in Indonesia's
national dictionary, the Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, and the government's official elementary-
school curriculum.[8]
Apothecaries' ounce[edit]
The obsolete apothecaries' ounce (abbreviated ℥) equivalent to the troy ounce, was formerly used
by apothecaries.
Maria Theresa ounce[edit]
"Maria Theresa ounce" was once introduced in Ethiopia and some European countries, which was
equal to the weight of one Maria Theresa thaler, or 28.0668 g.[9][10] Both the weight and the value are
the definition of one birr, still in use in present-day Ethiopia and formerly in Eritrea.[citation needed]
Spanish ounce[edit]
Further information: Spanish customary units
The Spanish pound (Spanish libra) was 460 g.[11] The Spanish ounce (Spanish onza) was 1⁄16 of a
pound, i.e. 28.75 g.[12]
Tower ounce[edit]
The Tower ounce of 450 grains was used in the English mints, the principal one being in the Tower
of London. It dates back to the Anglo-Saxon coinage weight standard. It was abolished in favour of
the Troy ounce by Henry VIII in 1527.[citation needed]

Main article: Pound-force
An ounce-force is 1⁄16 of a pound-force, or 0.2780139 newtons.
The "ounce" in "ounce-force" is equivalent to an avoirdupois ounce; ounce-force is a measurement
of force using avoirdupois ounces. However, it is not necessary to identify it as such or to
differentiate it in that way because there is no equivalent measure of force using troy or any other

Fluid ounce[edit]
Main article: Fluid ounce
A fluid ounce (abbreviated fl oz, fl. oz. or oz. fl.) is a unit of volume equal to about 28.4 ml in the
imperial system or about 29.6 ml in the US system. The fluid ounce is sometimes referred to simply
as an "ounce" in applications where its use is implicit, such as bartending.

Other uses[edit]
Fabric weight[edit]
Ounces are also used to express the "weight", or more accurately the areal density, of a textile fabric
in North America, Asia or the UK, as in "16 oz denim". The number refers to the weight in ounces of
a given amount of fabric, either a yard of a given width, or a square yard.[13][14]

Fabric type Typical weight in ounces

Organza, voile, chiffon 1–3

Most cottons, wools, silks, muslin, linen 4–7

Denim, corduroy, twill, velvet 7–16

Copper layer thickness of a printed circuit board[edit]

The most common unit of measure for the copper thickness on a printed circuit board (PCB) is
ounces (oz). It is the resulting thickness when 1 oz of copper is pressed flat and spread evenly over
a one-square-foot area. This roughly equals 34.7 µm.[15]

Notes and references