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metric system

noun
1.
a decimal system of weights and measures, adopted first in France but now widespread, universally used in science, mandatory for use for all purposes in a large number of countries, and favored for use in most (as in the U.S.). The basic units are the meter (39.37 inches) for length and the gram (15.432 grains) for mass or weight. Derived units are the liter (0.908 U.S. dry quart, or 1.0567 U.S. liquid quart) for capacity, being the volume of 1000 grams of water under specified conditions; the are (119.6 square yards) for area, being the area of a square 10 meters on a side; and the stere (35.315 cubic feet) for volume, being the volume of a cube 1 meter on a side, the term “stere,” however, usually being used only in measuring firewood. Names for units larger and smaller than these are formed from the above names by the use of the following prefixes: kilo-, 1000; hecto-, 100; deka-, 10; deci-, 0.1; centi-, 0.01; milli-, 0.001. To these are often added: tera-, one trillion; giga-, one billion; mega-, one million. With the addition of basic physical units it is now officially known by the French name Le Système International d'Unités (abbreviation SI, ) or in English as the International System of Units.
Origin of metric system
1860-1865
First recorded in 1860-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for metric system
Historical Examples
  • The metric system of weights and measures is one in which the meter is the unit of measure.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • In any modern work on horology of value, the metric system is used.

  • The metric system of weights and measures has been in force since 1878.

  • Other tables in the metric system are built upon the same plan.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • One of the units plainly belongs to the metric system, the other to the English.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • The fundamental unit of the metric system is the meter (the unit of length).

    Soap-Making Manual E. G. Thomssen
  • The bonds constituting knowledge of the metric system are now formed late in the pupil's course.

    The Psychology of Arithmetic Edward L. Thorndike
  • The glass tube is marked with the fractions of inches, or of the metre if the metric system of measurements is used.

  • The metric system is the system of measurement of which the meter is the fundamental unit.

  • They are also furnished with metric system measurements, graduated and marked for centimeters and millimeters.

    Paper-Cutting Machines

    Niel, Jr., Gray
British Dictionary definitions for metric system

metric system

noun
1.
any decimal system of units based on the metre. For scientific purposes the Système International d'Unités (SI units) is used
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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metric system in Medicine

metric system n.
A decimal system of units based on the meter as a unit length, the kilogram as a unit mass, and the second as a unit time.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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metric system in Science
metric system  
A decimal system of weights and measures based on the meter as a unit of length, the kilogram as a unit of mass, and the liter as a unit of volume. Compare US Customary System. See Table at measurement.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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metric system in Culture

metric system definition


A system of measurement in which the basic units are the meter, the second, and the kilogram. In this system, the ratios between units of measurement are multiples of ten. For example, a kilogram is a thousand grams, and a centimeter is one-hundredth of a meter. Virtually all countries of the world, except the United States, use the metric system. Among scientists, the metric system is called SI — an abbreviation for Système internationale, which is French for “International System.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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