from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Avoirdupois weight.
  • n. Informal Weight or heaviness, especially of a person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The official system of weights used in UK between 1856 and 1963. It had been the customary system in London since 1300 CE.
  • n. The official system of weights used in USA between 1866 and 1959.
  • n. Weight; heaviness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Goods sold by weight.
  • Avoirdupois weight.
  • Weight; heaviness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A system of weight in which one pound contains 16 ounces.
  • n. The weight of anything according to the avoirdupois system: as, his avoirdupois was 150 pounds.
  • n. Also written averdupois, and often abbreviated to avoir. and avdp.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a system of weights based on the 16-ounce pound (or 7,000 grains)
  • n. excess bodily weight


Middle English avoir de pois, commodities sold by weight, alteration of Old French aveir de peis, goods of weight : aveir, avoir, to have (from Latin habēre; see able) + de, of (from Latin , from; see de-) + peis, pois, weight (from Vulgar Latin *pēsum, from Latin pēnsum, past participle of pendere, to hang.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French avoir + de + pois ("good of weight"), compare Modern French poids ("weight") (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A Sea of Words: "The standard system of weights used in Great Britain for all goods except precious metals, precious stones, and medicines. The avoirdupois pound contains 7,000 grains. The avoirdupois weight of the U.S. agrees with that of Great Britain in the pound, ounce, and dram, but the U.S. hundredweight contains 100 pounds and the British hundredweight 112 pounds; the ton, 20 hundredweights, differs accordingly in the U.S. and Britain." (p. 95–96)

    October 13, 2008

  • Good-bye to peas - slang?

    September 28, 2008

  • Seeing peas? Having seen peas?

    September 28, 2008

  • To see peas?

    September 28, 2008

  • 'To have some peas'?

    September 28, 2008

  • "'There ain't enough room for it on the slate, and anyhow they are avoirdupois ounces instead of Troy. But... the answer is well over two millions of money.'"
    --P. O'Brian, The Wine-Dark Sea, 227

    March 16, 2008