May. 25th, 2017

kengr: (Default)
There are quite a few measurements that are (or at least stat out) based on the human body.

Best known is probably the foot. Do I have to explain that one? :-)

Lets start working up from smallest to largest

finger - the width of a finger, now mostly seen in measuring whisky

hand - the width of a hand from top to bottom with all fingers together. Now defined as 4 inches and used to measure horses.

span - The distance between the tip of the little finger and the tip of the thumb with fingers spread. Roughly 6 inches

cubit - distance from fingertips to elbow - now "defined" as 18 inches

yard - distance from fingertips to nose (think measuring cloth that way) Now defined as 3 feet.

ell - distance from fingertips to opposite shoulder (again used for measuring cloth)

fathom - distance between hands with arms outstretched (think of measuring rope that way). Now defined as 6 feet

stride - one step (ie distance between where left is when right foot lands)
pace - two steps (ie distance between to left or two right footprints)

mile - one thousand paces (from the Latin mille pacem). Now defined as 5280 feet.

league - 3 miles

I've probably missed a few.

These can be useful when reading old stuff, or when you need to rough measure something.

Also useful for alternate history of fantasy.

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