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Ever Wondered Why Are “Pound” And “Ounce” Abbreviated As “lb” And “oz”? Mystery Solved

Usually, the abbreviated forms of the measurement units are quite straightforward, comprising of the letters included in the full name. The only exception appears to be pound, represented as lb, and ounce, abbreviated as oz.


Image Source: The Week


As it happens, lb is the abbreviated form of the Latin word Libra. Just as the symbolic representation of the astrological sign, the word ‘Libra’ was used for balance or scales. The ancient Romans also used Libra as a unit of measure as in Libra pondo, a pound by weight. The English unit for weight ‘Pound’ comes from pondo while the sign/abbreviation of the unit was taken from the libra. The symbol used to represent the British currency, Pound £ also comes from libra, a line drawn through an L. Another currency that borrowed its symbol from libra is the Italian Lira, two lines drawn through an L!


Image Source: The Week


The word ounce comes from the Latin word uncia. Uncia was used by the Romans to measure both the inches as well as the ounce. The Anglo-Norman French used unce or ounce, but the abbreviation for ounce was derived from the Medieval Italian word onza.

Even though the Roman Empire has long since adopted the metric system, the symbols drawn from that era continue to be in use.
Would you propose a more modern abbreviation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.