Last modified on 8 April 2015, at 12:11



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From Hebrew דונם (dunam) or Arabic دونم (dūnum), from Turkish dönüm, from dönmek (to turn).[1] A probable calque of its predecessor Byzantine or Ancient Greek unit στρέμμα (strémma, stremma), derived from the Greek verb for "turning".



dunam (plural dunams)

  1. (historical) An Ottoman Turkish unit of surface area nominally equal to 1,600 square (Turkish) paces but actually varied at a provincial and local level according to land quality to accommodate its colloquial sense of the amount of land able to be plowed in a day, roughly equivalent to the Byzantine stremma or English acre.
    • (Can we date this quote?), James Joyce, Ulysses:
      You pay eight marks and they plant a dunam of land for you with olives, oranges, almonds or citrons.
  2. A modern Turkish unit of surface area equal to a decare (1000 ), equivalent to the modern Greek stremma.
  3. Various other units in other areas of the former Ottoman Empire, usually equated to the decare but sometimes varying (as in Iraq, where it is 2500 m²).



  1. ^ OED, 2nd edition (1989, online)