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### Origin of the Term Acre

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Date: 03/10/2002 at 14:19:28
From: Hal Sandick
Subject: Origin of term acre

A student asked what is the origin of the acre measurement. The
current definition of 43,560 square feet or 208.5 squared does not
seem to have a "natural" origin.

Thanks.

Regards,
Hal Sandick
```

```
Date: 03/10/2002 at 14:54:43
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Origin of term acre

Hi Hal - thanks for writing to Dr. Math.

See Russ Rowlett's _How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement_:

http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictA.html

acre (ac or A)
a unit of area used for measuring real estate in
English-speaking countries. "Acre" is an Old English
word meaning a field. The acre was originally defined
as the area that could be plowed in a day by a yoke
of oxen. It was in use in England at least as early
as the eighth century, and by the end of the ninth
century it was generally understood to be the area of
a field one furlong (40 rods or 10 chains) long by
4 rods (or 1 chain) wide. Thus an acre is 10 square
chains, 160 square rods, 43 560 square feet or 4840
square yards. There are exactly 640 acres in a square
mile. In metric countries the unit corresponding to
the acre is the hectare, which is 10,000 square meters
(the area of a square 100 meters on each side). One
acre is equal to 0.404 687 3 hectare. Among traditional
European land area units, the acre is typical in being
defined as a day's work but unusual in not being
visualized as the area of a square. Similar units
include the French journal, north German and Dutch
morgen, south German and Swiss juchart, Austrian joch,
and Czech jitro.

- Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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Associated Topics:
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

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