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English units of measurement
Customary Units of Weights and Measures
Units of Weight
Units of Length and Area
Units of Liquid Measure
Units of Dry Measure
Differences between American and British Systems
Many American units of weights and measures are based on units in use in Great Britain before 1824, when the British Imperial System was established. Since the Mendenhall Order of 1893, the U.S. yard and pound and all other units derived from them have been defined in terms of the metric units of length and mass, the meter and the kilogram; thus, there was no longer any direct relationship between American units and British units of the same name. In 1959 an international agreement was reached among English-speaking nations to use the same metric equivalents for the yard and pound for purposes of science and technology; these values are 1 yd=0.9144 meter (m) and 1 lb=0.45359237 kilogram (kg). In the United States, the older definition of the yard as 3,600/3,937 m has continued to be used in many instances for surveying, the corresponding foot (1,200/3,937 m) being known as the survey foot; the survey foot will become obsolete in 2023.
The English units of measurement have many drawbacks: the complexity of converting from one unit to another, the differences between American and British units, the use of the same name for different units (e.g., ounce for both weight and liquid capacity, quart and pint for both liquid and dry capacity), and the existence of three different systems of weights (avoirdupois, troy, and apothecaries'). Because of these disadvantages and because of the wide use of the much simpler metric system in most other parts of the world, there have been proposals to do away with the U.S. Customary System and replace it with the metric system.
See L. J. Chisholm, Units of Weights and Measure: International and U.S. Customary (U.S. National Bureau of Standards, 1967).
leopard, large carnivore of the cat family, Panthera pardus, widely distributed in Africa and Asia. It is commonly yellow, buff, or gray, patterned with black spots and rings. The rings, unlike those of the New World jaguar, never have spots inside them. Black leopards are commonly called panthers, a name sometimes used for all leopards. They are not a distinct species but merely a color variant caused by melanism, or excessive pigmentation. Close inspection reveals the typical spotting, which is obscured by the darkness of the background.
Leopards are somewhat smaller than lions and tigers; the largest males are about 7 ft (2.3 m) long, including the 3-ft (90-cm) tail. Leopards are solitary, largely nocturnal, and good climbers; they hunt both on the ground and in trees. They prey mostly on small animals such as monkeys, rodents, and birds. Leopards are found in much of Africa south of the Sahara and in parts of Asia from Israel to Korea and Indonesia. They are listed as threatened or endangered throughout their range, owing primarily to loss of their natural habitat and to illegal killing for Asian folk medicine.
A related species is the snow leopard, or ounce, Uncia uncia or P. uncia, which replaces ordinary leopards in the high mountains of Central Asia. It has long whitish fur and diffuse spotting. In summer, when the mountain animals on which it preys range to high pastures, the snow leopard may climb to an altitude of 13,000 ft (3,900 m). It usually hunts at dusk or at night. More distantly related are the clouded leopards, Neofelis nebulosa of SE Asia and Neofelis diardi (Sunda clouded leopard) of Borneo and Sumatra; they were considered a single species until the early 21st cent. The coat is more tawny and lighter in the clouded leopard, more gray and darker in the Sunda clouded leopard. Both have coats strikingly marked with black and brown; there are stripes on the face and tail, spots on the limbs, and rosettes on the body. The tail is exceptionally long and heavy and is thickly furred. Forest dwellers, clouded leopards are nocturnal and arboreal in their habits. Unlike the leopard, both the snow and clouded leopards do not roar. The clouded leopard is an endangered species; the snow leopard is considered vulnerable.
Leopards are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.
(1) A unit of weight in the English system of measures. One ounce equals 16 drams = 437.5 grains = 28.3495 g.
(2) A unit of apothecaries’ weight. The apothecaries’ ounce contains 8 drams or 24 scruples; the Russian apothecaries’ ounce was equal to 29.860 g. In the English system of measures, the apothecaries’ ounce, as well as the troy ounce (a measure of weight for precious metals), is equal to 31.1035 g.
(3) Fluidounce, a measure of volume, equivalent to 8 fluidrams. The fluid ounce corresponds to 29.5737 cm3 in the USA or to 28.413 cm3 in Great Britain.