[ kyoo-bit ]
/ ˈkyu bɪt /


an ancient linear unit based on the length of the forearm, from elbow to the tip of the middle finger, usually from 17 to 21 inches (43 to 53 cm).

Nearby words

  1. cubicle,
  2. cubiculum,
  3. cubiform,
  4. cubism,
  5. cubist,
  6. cubital,
  7. cubital furrow,
  8. cubital joint,
  9. cubital nerve,
  10. cubitus

Origin of cubit

1325–75; Middle English, Old English < Latin cubitum elbow, cubit; perhaps akin to cubāre to lie down Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cubit

British Dictionary definitions for cubit


/ (ˈkjuːbɪt) /


an ancient measure of length based on the length of the forearm

Word Origin for cubit

C14: from Latin cubitum elbow, cubit

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

Word Origin and History for cubit



ancient unit of measure based on the forearm from elbow to fingertip, usually from 18 to 22 inches, early 14c., from Latin cubitum "the elbow," from PIE *keu(b)- "to bend." Such a measure, known by a word meaning "forearm" or the like, was known to many peoples (e.g. Greek pekhys, Hebrew ammah, English ell).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper