Gill (unit)

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For other uses of "Gill", see Gill (disambiguation).
Copper gill measuring jugs

The gill (pronounced[1] Listeni/ˈɪl/) is a unit of measurement for volume equal to a quarter of a pint.[2] It is no longer in common use, except in regard to the volume of alcoholic spirits measures.

Imperial gill
1 imperial gill ≡ 5 imperial fluid ounces
≡ 142.0653125 ml[3]
≈ 142 ml
≈ 1.2 US gills
United States customary gill
64oz = 12 gallon
32oz = 1 quart
16oz = 1 pint
8oz = 1 cup
4oz = 1 gill
2oz =
1oz = 1 ounce
12 oz = 1 tablespoon
14 oz =
18 oz = 1 dram

In Great Britain, the standard single measure of spirits in a pub was 16 gill (23.7 ml) in England, and 15 gill (28.4 ml) in Scotland; after metrication this was replaced by either 25 or 35 ml (0.176- or 0.246-gill) measures (the owner or holder in his stead of the public-house may choose which one to serve). The 14 gill was previously the most common measure in Scotland, and still remains as the standard measure in pubs in Ireland. In southern England, it is also called a noggin. In northern England, however, the large noggin is used, which is two gills. In some areas, a gill came to mean half a pint for both beer and milk.[4]

In Ireland, the standard spirit measure was historically 14 gill. In the Republic of Ireland, it still retains this value, though it is now legally specified in metric units as 35.5 ml.

A convenient method to remember the conversion from gill to litres is that 1 imperial gill = π - 3 litres, accurate to 3 d.p.

There are occasional references to a gill in popular culture, such as in the cumulative song "The Barley Mow".[5] In L. Frank Baum's "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" one of the ingredients required for a magic spell is a gill of water from a dark well. In chapter 19 the obscure unit is used for humor including a pun with Jack and Jill, which also involved a well. It is also referenced in FX's animated cartoon "Archer", in both Episodes "Blood Test" (Season 2, Episode 3). [6] and "Heart of Archness: Part Three" (Season 3, Episode 3). [7] The word also appeared in a 2013 edition of the BBC TV programme QI, when it was mispronounced by show host Stephen Fry with a hard 'g' sound.


  1. ^ Not Listeni/ˈɡɪl/ as in a fish's gill
  2. ^ This was the legal definition although in some areas a gill of milk or beer is referred to as a half-pint; elsewhere a gill was the 13 pint of milk given free to school children.[citation needed]
  3. ^ after 1985 in the UK, c. 1964 in Canada
  4. ^ International Dictionary of Food and Cooking by Charles Gordon Sinclair, ISBN 1-57958-057-2, published by Taylor & Francis, 1998
  5. ^ "Good Luck to the Barley Mow, lyrics and audio". Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  6. ^ Archer: "Blood Test" · TV Club · The A.V. Club
  7. ^ Archer: “Heart Of Archness, Part Three” · TV Club · The A.V. Club