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Metric Measurements

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Metric Measurements

For conversions on the Web, try the Measurement Converter.

In the metric system:

  • we multiply by 10 each time we move to the next larger unit.
  • we divide by 10 each time we move to the next smaller unit.

Here are the metric measurements of length.

The basic unit is the meter. A meter is close to a yard in length (1 meter = 1.093 yd.), and there are 2.54 centimeters in one inch, and about 1.6 kilometers in one mile.

There are 1000 meters in a kilometer, and 1000 millimeters in a meter.
kilometer    1,000 meters     km
hectometer     100 meters     hm
dekameter       10 meters     dam
METER ---------- 1 meter -----------      m
decimeter        0.1 meters (1/10 meter)        dm  
centimeter       0.01 meters (1/100 meter)      cm
millimeter       0.001 meters (1/1000 meter)    mm
micrometer       0.000001 meter (1/1000000 meter)
nanometer        0.000000001 meter (1/1000000000 meter)

Here are the metric measurements of volume.

The basic unit is the liter. A liter measures approximately a quart (1 liter = 1.056 qt.)

There are 1000 liters in a kiloliter, and 1000 milliliters in a liter.
kiloliter    1,000 liters     kl
hectoliter     100 liters     hl
dekaliter       10 liters     dal
LITER ---------- 1 liter -----------     l
deciliter        0.1 liters (1/10 liter)       dl
centiliter       0.01 liters (1/100 liter)     cl
milliliter       0.001 liters (1/1000 liter)   ml

Here are the metric measurements of mass and weight.

The basic unit is the gram. Ten grams measure approximately 1/3 ounce (1 gram = .035 oz.) and there are about 2.2 lbs. in a kilogram.

There are 1000 grams in a kilogram, and 1000 milligrams in a gram.
kilogram     1,000 grams     kg
hectogram      100 grams     hg
dekagram        10 grams     dag
GRAM ----------- 1 gram -----------     g
decigram         0.1 grams (1/10 gram)       dg
centigram        0.01 grams (1/100 gram)     cg
milligram        0.001 grams (1/1000 gram)   mg

See also Metric Prefixes & Conversion - Mathematical Concepts, Inc.

For some U.S. unit equivalents of metric units, see:
Metric System - Merriam-Webster Online

For some metric equivalents of U.S. units, see:
Weight and Measures - Merriam-Webster Online

Return to
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Terms and Units of Measurement
Middle School Terms and Units of Measurement
Index of Selected Answers to Common Questions

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