a unit of capacity redefined in 1964 by a reduction of 28 parts in a million to be exactly equal to one cubic decimeter. It is equivalent to 1.0567 U.S. liquid quarts and is equal to the volume of one kilogram of distilled water at 4°C. Abbreviation: l
Also especially British, li·tre.
Origin of liter
1800–10; < Frenchlitre, back formation from litron an old measure of capacity, derivative (with -on noun suffix) of Medieval Latinlitra < Greeklítra pound
1797, from French litre (1793), from litron, obsolete French measure of capacity for grain, from Medieval Latin litra, from Greek litra "pound," apparently from the same Sicilian Italic source as Latin libra.