Metric System Abbreviations

Measuring cups often show both metric and U.S. units of measurement
••• BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

The metric system is the standard system of measurement in most of the world. It is used in the United States, but it is not the standard system of measurement there. The metric system uses a series of base units for measurements of length, area, volume, capacity and mass and weight, using prefixes to indicate measurements larger or smaller than the base unit.

Length

The metric system units of measurement for length are based on the meter measurement, which is nearly 40 inches in the American system. The abbreviation for meter is "m." The kilometer is expressed as "km," the hectometer as "hm," the dekameter as "dam," the decimeter as "dm," the centimeter as "cm," the millimeter as "mm" and the micrometer as "µm."

Mass and Weight

The metric measurements for mass and weight are based on the gram, which is about 0.035 of an ounce in the American system. The gram's abbreviation is "g." The metric ton is expressed as "t," the kilogram as "kg," the hectogram as "hg," the dekagram as "dag," the decigram as "dg," the centigram as "cg," the milligram as "mg" and the microgram as "µg."

Capacity

The base measurement in the metric system for capacity is the liter, which is equal to 61.02 cubic inches, or 0.908 quart for dry material and 1.057 quarts for a wet material in the American system. The liter's abbreviation is "l." The kiloliter is expressed as "kl," the hectoliter as "hl," the dekaliter as "dal," the cubic decimeter as "dm3," the deciliter as "dl," the centiliter as "cl" and the milliliter as "ml."

Area and Volume

Area and volume do not have as many units of measurements as length, capacity and mass and weight. For area, the square kilometer is abbreviated "sq km" or "km2" and totals 1,000,000 square meters, which is 0.3861 miles in the American system. Also, for area, the hectare is expressed as "ha" and the square centimeter as "sq cm" or "cm2." For volume, the cubic meter, which is equal to 1 cubic meter or 1.307 cubic yards, is expressed as "m3," the cubic decimeter as "dm3" and the cubic centimeter as "cm3," "cu," "cm" or "cc."

Related Articles

Meter Stick Vs. Yard Stick
How to Calculate Center of Mass
How to Calculate Cube Weight
What Is the Unit for Enthalpy?
How to Convert Ounces to Mililiters
How to Convert Kilopascals to Joules
How to Convert Centimeters to Centimeters Squared
Facts About the Metric System
How to Calculate Loading Rates
How to Calculate the Volume of Water to Fill a Rectangular...
What Is MQ in the Metric System?
How to Calculate mL Volume
How to Dissolve Magnesium Chloride
What Are the Units for Diameter?
How to Convert Ccf to Mmbtu
How to Find Mass From Density
How to Calculate Millimolars
How to Convert GPM to Cooling Rate in Tons
How to Calculate Solubilities
How to Convert Gallons, Quarts, Pints and Cups

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!