United States customary units

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The United States customary system (also called American system or, sometimes, "English units") is the most commonly used system of measurement in the United States. The U.S. customary units have common roots with the Imperial units, which were used in the British Empire. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their Imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units in use before the Imperial system was standardized in 1824, and there are several numerical differences from the Imperial system.

The vast majority of U.S. customary units have been defined in terms of the meter and the kilogram since the Mendenhall Order of 1893 (and, in practice, for many years before that date).[1] These definitions were refined in 1959.[2]

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not mainly use the metric system in its commercial and standards activities,[3] although the International System of Units (SI, often referred to as "metric") is universally used in science, and increasingly in medicine, government, and various sectors of industry.

Contents

History

The U.S. system of units is similar to the British Imperial system.[4] Both systems derive from the evolution of local units over the centuries, as a result of standardization efforts in the United Kingdom; the local units themselves mostly trace back to Roman and Anglo-Saxon units. Today, these units are defined in terms of SI units.

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