Metric foot

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For the poetical term, see foot (prosody).

A metric foot is a nickname occasionally used in the United Kingdom for a length of 300 millimetres (30 cm). The 30 cm metric ruler was of a similar length to the traditional 12-inch (one foot) ruler, so hence the term 'metric foot'. A metric foot can be divided into twelve "metric inches" of 25 millimetres (2.5 cm) each. The metric foot and inch are therefore 4.8 and 0.4 millimetres (or about 160) shorter than an imperial foot and inch respectively.

The term "metric foot" does not appear in any British Standard. The practice of choosing multiples of 300 mm and 600 mm as preferred dimensions in the construction industry originated from the international standard on modular coordination (ISO 2848). These numbers were chosen because of their large number of divisors. Any multiple of 600 mm can be evenly divided into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 24, 25, 30, etc. parts.

While the term "metric foot" is still occasionally used in the United Kingdom, in particular in the timber trade, dimensions are most likely to be quoted exclusively in metric units today.

The sizes of the studios at BBC Television Centre in London, which opened in 1960, are specified and measured in metric feet—a contrast to film stages where imperial feet and inches prevail.

Historically in France, under the mesures usuelles system (intermediary between traditional French units and metric units), a metric foot was exactly a third of a metre (333 13 mm).

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