• synonyms


  1. 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).
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Origin of cubit

1325–75; Middle English, Old English < Latin cubitum elbow, cubit; perhaps akin to cubāre to lie down
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cubit

Historical Examples of cubit

  • Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

    Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II

    Francis Augustus Cox

  • I saw likewise other fish about a cubit in length, that had heads like owls.

  • Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature?

    Christian Devotedness

    Anthony Norris Groves

  • Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?

  • The other kind of sheep has the tail broad, even as much as a cubit in breadth.

British Dictionary definitions for cubit


  1. an ancient measure of length based on the length of the forearm
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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper