Foot (unit)


January 18, 2022

For other meanings, see Foot (different meanings). Foot is a unit of length used with varying definitions in many different measurement systems. By foot is today meant English foot ("international foot") which is now defined as exactly 0.3048 meters. Previously, there was a slight difference between the Imperial (British) foot, which was defined as one third of the archipelago, stored in the Tower of London. The old US foot is directly related to the meter system. The old Imperial foot was 0.30479449 meters. One foot equals 12 inches if (now) exactly 0.0254 meters (2.54 centimeters). The international foothold was first established by the United States and the Commonwealth in the 1950s, and is now defined in an ISO standard. Feet are still used, for example, for altitude indications in international aviation. (For Swedish military aviation, however, heights were previously stated according to the meter system, but an adjustment to feet (and knots) took place in the early 2000s as an interoperability adjustment.) The foot sign (prim sign) is used as a foot symbol: ′. For example, 2 ′ 5 ″ is a writing style for two feet and five inches. The characters' and 'are typographically distinct from the apostrophe' and quotation marks' '. In the United States, a slightly longer foot, "United States survey foot", is used in surveying. It can be noted that a normal male foot, size 43, is about 27 cm long, ie slightly shorter than most units of measurement foot.

Older feet


The unit foot has existed in most civilizations. The earliest documented case is from ancient Sumeria in a document from 2575 BC. The Roman measure foot, pes, corresponded to 0.296 meters.

Swedish foot

The Swedish unit foot corresponded from the time Rydaholmsalnen was introduced as nationally 0.29690 meters. It was divided into 12 inches (tools), where each inch was thus about 2,474 centimeters long. During the 19th century, decimals were introduced which were 1/10 feet and whose length thus became 2.969 centimeters. In 1865, feet were redefined from 0.296901 m to 0.296906000 m, which thus became the final length of the foot that was abolished with the introduction of the meter system in 1889 . A length of 2 feet (0.593808 meters) was called aln (early there were local definitions - see the article aln), and the length 100 feet was called ref.

Prussian foot, Danish foot

The Prussian or Rhineland foot, which also corresponded to the Danish foot, was 0.313 85 meters.

French royal foot

A French royal foot - pied du roi after Charlemagne - or Paris foot is even slightly longer. It corresponds to 0.324 84 meters and consists of 12 pouces, each of which measures 2,707 centimeters according to the meter system. The French royal footing forms the basis of the typographic unit of measure point. One foot (pied) in Brussels corresponded to 0.276 meters.


See also

The decimal system Length measurements Berthold-Didot regarding typographic dimensions

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