Units of Measurements in Arabic

You’ve just landed at the airport of an Arabic country, you’ve made it through customs, and baggage claim so far and you are about to pick up that car you’ve rented from the comfort of your house. Well, not so fast! I know you can drive, that’s the last thing I’m worried about here. I know the car is not what you expected. Small you said? right? Ooh tiny! I hear you, you’re lucky the steering wheel is still on the left side. Now, take a look at your dashboard. Do you see anything different? Well, if you haven’t seen it yet, expect something like what it’s in the picture below.

What I mean here is that some Arabic countries, if not most of them, may not be using the same metric system as the one you are comfortable with, especially, if you live in the United States. What you should keep in mind is that a lot of these Arabic countries are most likely to use the international metric system where the basic unit of length is the meter (m), which is divided into 100 centimeters (cm) or 1000 millimeters (mm). One thousand meters make up one kilometer (km). Fluids are measured in liters (L), each divided into 1000 milliliters (mL). A liter of pure water weighs one kilogram (kg), which is divided into 1000 grams (g). One metric ton is 1000kg. In any case, whether you’re familiar with the International System of Units used in Arabic or not, here is what you should know:

1millimeter [mm]      ميلمتر 10metre square [m2]      متر مربع
2centimeter [cm]      سنتيمتر 11metre cube [m3]      متر مكعب
3metre [m]      متر 12hectare [ha]      هكتار
4kilometer [km]      كيلومتر 13ounce      أونص
5inch [in]      إنش 14gallon      غالون
6foot [ft]      قدم 15gram [g]      جرام / غرام
7yard [yd]      يارد 16kilogram [kg]      كيلوغرام
8mile      ميل 17pound      رطل
9acre      فدان 18litre [l]      لتر
Length, Width, and Height in Arabic
  • Length in Arabic is called (at-tūl)       الطول
  • Width in Arabic is called (al-‘ard)       العرض
  • Height in Arabic is called (al-irtifā’)       الارتفاع or (al-‘uluw’)       العلو

When referring to someone’s length in Arabic it’s best to use the word (qāmah)       قامة instead of the word Length. For instance: if you’d like to say “He is tall” in Arabic you’d probably just say       هو طويل , but my fear is that you may be misunderstood in this case as your phrase may sound incomplete. Instead, what you should say is this:       هو طويل القامة

N.B: Note that the word “tūl”       طول which is the Indefinite Arabic word equivalent to “length” as seen above (w/o the “al”) is totally different from the word “tawīl”       طويل which is the adjective equivalent to “tall” in English.

– This snake is 25 feet tall which is the equivalent to 7.62 meters.
      يبلغ طول هذا الثعبان 25 قدم، أي ما يعادل 7
N.B: Please note here that the floating point number (7.62) was translated as 7,62 using the comma character “,” which is called (fāssilah)       فاصلة in Arabic, instead of the decimal point. another way to read this number not commonly used these days سبعة وست أعشار وجزأين من المائة
– This mountain is 1701 meters high.
      يبلغ ارتفاع هذا الجبل 1701 مترا.
      يبلغ هذا الجبل 1701 مترا.
it’s also OK to say:
      يبلغ طول هذا الجبل 1701 مترا.

  • This door is a meter and a half wide.
          يبلغ عرض هذا الباب مترا ونصف.
Distance, Weight, and Size in Arabic
  • The Distance in Arabic is called (al-massāfah)       المسافة .
    To say the “Distance between” in Arabic, you have to say either       المسافة بين or       المسافة الفاصلة بين . so, for example, if you were to say:
  • The distance between New York and Boston is 190 miles.
    you can either say:
          المسافة بين نيويورك وبوسطن هي 190 ميل
          المسافة الفاصلة بين نيويورك وبوسطن هي 190 ميل
  • The Weight in Arabic is called (al-wazn)       الوزن
  • The Size in Arabic is called (al-ḥajm)       الحجم
Measurement Conversions
1 inch (in.) = 25.4mm1 millimeter (mm) = 0.039 in.
1 foot (ft.) = 0.305m1 meter (m) = 3.28 ft.
1 yard (yd.) = 0.914m1 meter (m) = 1.094 yd.
1 mile (mi.) = 1.609km1 kilometer (km) = 0.621 mi.
1 ounce (oz.) = 28.35g1 gram (g) = 0.035 oz.
1 pound (lb.) = 0.454kg1 kilogram (kg) = 2.205 lb.
1 fluid ounce (fl. oz.) = 29.57mL1 milliliter (mL) = 0.034 fl. oz.
1 gallon (gal.) = 3.785L1 liter (L) = 0.264 gal.

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