a carpenters' ruler with centimetre divisions
|1 cm in ...||... is equal to ...|
|imperial & US system||~0.3937 in|
|Look up centimetre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
A centimetre (international spelling as used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; symbol cm) or centimeter (American spelling) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one hundredth of a metre, centi being the SI prefix for a factor of 1⁄100. The centimetre was the base unit of length in the now deprecated centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system of units.
Though for many physical quantities, SI prefixes for factors of 103—like milli- and kilo-—are often preferred by technicians, the centimetre remains a practical unit of length for many everyday measurements. A centimetre is approximately the width of the fingernail of an average adult person.
Equivalence to other units of length
Uses of centimetre
In addition to its use in the measurement of length, the centimetre is used:
- sometimes, to report the level of rainfall as measured by a rain gauge 
- in the CGS system, the centimetre is used to measure capacitance, where 1 cm of capacitance = 1.113×10−12 farads
- in maps, centimetres are used to make conversions from map scale to real world scale (kilometres)
- to represent second moment of areas (cm4)
- as the inverse of the kayser, a CGS unit, and thus a non-SI metric unit of wavenumber: 1 kayser = 1 wave per centimetre; or, more generally, (wavenumber in kaysers) = 1/(wavelength in centimetres). The SI unit of wavenumber is the inverse metre, m-1.
- centimetre (㎝) – code 339D
- square centimetre (㎠) – code 33A0
- cubic centimetre (㎤) – code 33A4
They are mostly used only with East Asian fixed-width CJK fonts, because they are equal in size to one Chinese character.
- 1 E-2 m
- Conversion of units, for comparison with other units of length
- Reciprocal centimetre
- Orders of magnitude (length)
- BIPM - SI prefixes
- Inch - from Eric Weisstein's World of Physics
- Rain Measurement, Rain Gauge, Wireless Rain Gauge, Rain Gage, Rain Gauge Data
- Capacitance - from Eric Weisstein's World of Physics
-  CJK Compatibility excerpt from The Unicode Standard, Version 4.1.
- CJK Compatibility excerpt from The Unicode Standard, Version 4.4 and co-exterior users.