Origin of ton

1350–1400; Middle English; variant of tun


[French tawn]

noun, plural tons [French tawn] /French tɔ̃/.

high fashion; stylishness.
the current fashion, style, or vogue.

Origin of ton

1755–65; < French < Latin tonus tone
Related formston·ish, ton·nish [ton-ish] /ˈtɒn ɪʃ/, adjectiveton·ish·ly, ton·nish·ly, adverbton·ish·ness, ton·nish·ness, noun


a suffix formerly used to form nouns from adjectives: simpleton; singleton.

Origin of -ton

variant of dial. tone one (see tother) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ton

Contemporary Examples of ton

Historical Examples of ton

  • A ton on some other planet, where the attraction of gravity is less, does not weigh half a ton.

    Pax Vobiscum

    Henry Drummond

  • "This confounded blunderbuss must weigh a ton, I think," Loubet went on.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • We only got a ton after all, when we should have liked a dozen or fourteen tons!

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • Tell Gubby I think of him as much as when I weighed half a ton.

  • We'll get more ounces to the ton out of our crushings than they ever heard of on the Rand, too.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for ton




Also called: long ton British a unit of weight equal to 2240 pounds or 1016.046909 kilograms
Also called: short ton, net ton US a unit of weight equal to 2000 pounds or 907.184 kilograms
Also called: metric ton, tonne a unit of weight equal to 1000 kilograms
Also called: freight ton a unit of volume or weight used for charging or measuring freight in shipping. It depends on the type of material being shipped but is often taken as 40 cubic feet, 1 cubic metre, or 1000 kilogramsfreight is charged at £40 per ton of 1 cubic metre
Also called: measurement ton, shipping ton a unit of volume used in shipping freight, equal to 40 cubic feet, irrespective of the commodity shipped
Also called: displacement ton a unit used for measuring the displacement of a ship, equal to 35 cubic feet of sea water or 2240 pounds
Also called: register ton a unit of internal capacity of ships equal to 100 cubic feet
See also tons

Word Origin for ton

C14: variant of tun




style, fashion, or distinction

Word Origin for ton

C18: from French, from Latin tonus tone




slang, mainly British a score or achievement of a hundred, esp a hundred miles per hour, as on a motorcycle

Word Origin for ton

C20: special use of ton 1 applied to quantities of one hundred
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 ton

late 14c., tonne, unit for measuring the carrying capacity of a ship, originally "space occupied by a tun or cask of wine," thus identical to tun (q.v.). The two words were not differentiated until 1680s. The measure of weight is first recorded late 15c.; the spelling ton is from 1530s, and became firmly established 18c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ton in Science



A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). Also called short ton See Table at measurement.
A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,240 pounds (1,008 kilograms). Also called long ton See Table at measurement.
See metric ton.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with ton


see like a ton of bricks.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.