Guz

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For the place nicknamed Guz or Guzz, see HMNB Devonport.

A guz (Persian: گز, Hindi: गज}), also written as gaz, guzz, guj, huj or gudge, is a unit of length used in parts of Asia. Historically, it was a regionally variable measurement, similar to the English yard both in size and in that it was often used for measuring textiles. Values of the guz ranged from 24 inches to 41 inches over time. Today, it is generally used in the Indian subcontinent as the word for a "yard". A present day sari is still measured as 7 huj while a traditional one can be as long as 9 huj.

India and Pakistan[edit]

Use of the guz in India was first established during the Mughal Empire. The guz in Rajasthan at the end of the 17th century was quoted as being 28½ inches.[1] By 1875, the average value of the guz in Bengal was 36 inches (that is, one yard), but was 33 inches in Madras and 27 inches in Bombay.[1][2]

By the 20th century, the guz was uniformly quoted as being equal in length to one yard in the English system, or 0.91 metres in the Metric system.

The guz is still commonly used in the Indian subcontinent. It has become the standard word in Hindi and Urdu for "yard".[3]

English[edit]

The word guz (also spelled guzz, at the time) entered the Oxford English Dictionary in the late 19th century, having been originally submitted by the noted lexicographer William Chester Minor, originally as being equal to 28 and 4/5 inches in India (so that "5 guzz = 4 yards").[4] The word also is reputed to have given the Royal Navy base at HM Naval Base Devonport, in Plymouth, the affectionate nickname of "Guzz", as sailors referring to the Dockyard, used to regularly abbreviate the word to simply "The Yard", leading to the slang use of the Hindi word for the unit of measurement of the same name.[5]

Arabia[edit]

  • In Arabia it varied between 27 and 37 inches (685 to 940 mm).[6]

Persia[edit]

  • In Persia it was reported in the 1880s that 1 guz was 37 1/2 inches for cloth, but 27 inches for silk, carpet, etc.[7]

Nepal[edit]

  • In Nepal, 1 guz was 1 yard (0.9144 m) in the 20th century.[6]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]