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The tonne (unit symbol t) or metric ton (U.S.),[1] often redundantly referred to as a metric tonne, is a unit of mass equal to 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) or approximately the mass of one cubic metre of water at four degrees Celsius. It is sometimes abbreviated as mt in the United States,[2] but this conflicts with other SI symbols. The tonne is not a unit in the International System of Units (SI), but is accepted for use with the SI.[3][4] In SI units and prefixes, the tonne is a megagram (Mg). The spelling tonne pre-dates the introduction of the SI in 1960; it has been used with this meaning in France since 1842[5] (when there were no metric prefixes for multiples of 106 and above), and is now used as the standard spelling for the metric mass measurement in most English-speaking countries.[6][7][8][9] In the United States, the unit was originally referred to using the French words millier or tonneau,[10] but these terms are now obsolete.[1] The Imperial and US customary units comparable to the tonne are both spelled ton in English, though they differ in mass. Pronunciation of tonne (the word used in the UK) and ton is usually identical, but is not too confusing unless accuracy is important as the tonne and UK long ton differ by only 1.6%.


Derived units


The spelling tonne has its origin in German. The term applied to the barrel of the largest size. In Old English the spelling was tunne, "cask" — a full cask about a metre high could easily weigh a tonne. The antiquated British wine cask volume measurement tun is close to a metric tonne in weight as it defines about 954 litres which for many commonly used liquids (aqueous solutions) approximates to as many kilograms.

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