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    Updated on May 13, 2020. Posted on Aug 29, 2011

    The Funniest Old English Measurements

    It's no secret that the English language has some pretty fantastic old-timey words, but you probably don't know most of these. Find out what the world was like when it was divided up into barleycorns, knight's fees, and hogsheads.

    1. Barleycorn

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    The length of one corn of barley, where three corns was about one inch.

    2. Poppyseed

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    1/4 of a barleycorn.

    3. Finger

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    7/8 of an inch.

    4. Nail

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    2 1/4 inches.

    5. Palm

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Traditionally the length of a palm with the thumb tucked in, or about 3 inches.

    6. Shaftment

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Width of the hand with outstretched thumb, 6 1/2 inches before the year 1066, 6 inches thereafter.

    7. Rod

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Usually a measurement of land, 16 1/2 feet.

    8. Chain

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Four linear rods.

    9. League

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    About 3 miles, intended to be a one-hour walk.

    10. Knight's Fee

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    A somewhat arbitrary amount of land that a knight would need to sustain not only himself, but his esquires, horses, equipment, and supplies in times of war.

    11. Mouthful

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    1/2 of a fluid ounce.

    12. Pony

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Two mouthfuls, or 1 fluid ounce. Also known as a shot.

    13. Hogshead

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Large barrels typically for storing alcohol, a hogshead of wine is equivalent to 63 US gallons, while a hogshead of beer is 54 gallons.

    14. Butt

    Via en.wikipedia.org

    Two hogsheads, or about 128 gallons.

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