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  • IPA(key): /aʊns/
  • Rhymes: -aʊns
  • (file)

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English ounce, unce, from Middle French once, from Latin uncia (1/12 part), from ūnus (one). Doublet of inch.


ounce (plural ounces) abbreviation oz. or

  1. An avoirdupois ounce, weighing 1/16 of an avoirdupois pound, or 28.3495 grams.
  2. A troy ounce, weighing 1/12 of a troy pound, or 480 grains, or 31.1035 grams.
  3. A US fluid ounce, with a volume of 1/16 of a US pint, 1.804 687 cubic inches or 29.573 531 milliliters.
  4. A British imperial fluid ounce, with a volume of 1/20 of an imperial pint, 1.733871 cubic inches or 28.413063 millilitres.
  5. A little bit.
    He didn't feel even an ounce of regret for his actions.
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle French once, from Old French lonce (lynx), by false division (the l was thought to be the article), from Italian lonza, ultimately from Ancient Greek λύγξ (lúnx, lynx).


ounce (plural ounces)

  1. (now archaic) A large wild feline, such as a lynx or cougar. [from 14th c.]
    • 1634, William Wood, New Englands Prospect:
      The Ounce or the wilde Cat, is as big as a mungrell dog, this creature is by nature feirce, and more dangerous to bee met withall than any other creature, not fearing eyther dogge or man […].
    • 1801, Robert Southey, Thalaba the Destroyer:
      Halloa! another prey,
      The nimble Antelope!
      The ounce is freed; one spring,
      And his talons are sheath’d in her shoulders,
      And his teeth are red in her gore.
  2. Now specifically, the snow leopard, Uncia uncia. [from 18th c.]



Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle French once, from Old French once, unce, from Latin uncia. Doublet of ynche.


  • IPA(key): /ˈuːns(ə)/, /ˈuns(ə)/


ounce (plural ounces or ounce)

  1. An ounce (unit with much variation, but generally equivalent to 1/12 or 1/16 of a pound)
  2. (rare) A shekel (ancient measure of weight)
  3. (rare) A minuscule or insignificant amount or quantity.
    • a. 1394, Geoffrey Chaucer, “General Prologue”, in The Canterbury Tales[1], lines 677-678:
      By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde / And therwith he his shuldres overspradde
      By very little hung the locks that he had; / He draped them over his shoulders
  4. (rare) An eight-minute unit for measuring time.
  5. (rare) A three-inch unit for measuring length.