See more synonyms for ton on
  1. a unit of weight, equivalent to 2000 pounds (0.907 metric ton) avoirdupois (short ton) in the U.S. and 2240 pounds (1.016 metric tons) avoirdupois (long ton) in Great Britain.
  2. Also called freight ton. a unit of volume for freight that weighs one ton, varying with the type of freight measured, as 40 cubic feet of oak timber or 20 bushels of wheat.
  3. metric ton.
  4. displacement ton.
  5. a unit of volume used in transportation by sea, commonly equal to 40 cubic feet (1.13 cu. m) (shipping ton or measurement ton).
  6. a unit of internal capacity of ships, equal to 100 cubic feet (2.83 cu. m) (register ton).
  7. Often tons. Informal. a great quantity; a lot: a ton of jokes; tons of wedding presents.
  8. British Informal. a speed of 100 miles per hour.

Origin of ton

1350–1400; Middle English; variant of tun


[French tawn]
noun, plural tons [French tawn] /French tɔ̃/.
  1. high fashion; stylishness.
  2. 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


  1. 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


  1. Also called: long ton British a unit of weight equal to 2240 pounds or 1016.046909 kilograms
  2. Also called: short ton, net ton US a unit of weight equal to 2000 pounds or 907.184 kilograms
  3. Also called: metric ton, tonne a unit of weight equal to 1000 kilograms
  4. 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
  5. Also called: measurement ton, shipping ton a unit of volume used in shipping freight, equal to 40 cubic feet, irrespective of the commodity shipped
  6. 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
  7. 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


  1. style, fashion, or distinction

Word Origin for ton

C18: from French, from Latin tonus tone


  1. 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


  1. A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). Also called short ton See Table at measurement.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.