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"Unit" in Measurement

In Measurement we talk about "Units" ... what are they?

A unit is any measurement that there is 1 of.

So 1 meter is a unit.

And 1 second is also a unit

And 1 m/s (one meter per second) is also a unit, because there is one of it.

And so on ...


Units of Measurement are "standardized", meaning that there is a well-defined standard way to measure 1 of them.

metre bar

Example: For many years (1889 to 1960) there was the International Prototype Metre bar to show people exactly what 1 meter was.

But that wasn't accurate enough! Now "1 Meter" is defined as how far light travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second.


Without a Number

It is also common to drop the "1" in front and just talk about the type of measurement as a unit.

Example, in the metric system these are the most common units:

  • meter
  • kilogram
  • second

So "Unit" is a general term that means the type of measurement (and people understand that you mean just "1" of it)

So a conversation might go like this

Alex: "It measures 100"
Sam: "In what Unit?"
Alex: "Centimeters"




What unit does this Speedometer measure?

It measures km/h (kilometers per hour)

So the speed shown here is 220 kilometers per hour