Origin of the Term Acre
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/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.