Rood has several distinct meanings, all derived from the same basic etymology.
"Rood" is an archaic word for "pole", from Old English rōd "pole", specifically "cross", from Proto-Germanic *rodo, cognate to Old Saxon rōda, Old High German ruoda "rod" (OED, "Rood"); the relation of rood to rod, from Old English rodd "pole" is unclear; the latter was perhaps influenced by Old Norse rudda "club").
Measurement of area
Rood is an English unit of area, equal to one quarter of an acre or 10890 sq ft (approximately 1011 m2, 10.1 ares or 0.1 hectares). A rectangular area with edges of one furlong (i.e. 10 chains, or 40 rods) and one rod respectively is one rood, as is an area consisting of 40 perches (square rods). The rood was an important measure in surveying on account of its easy conversion to acres. When referring to areas, rod is often found in old documents and has exactly the same meaning as rood.
It is confusingly called an "acre" in some ancient contexts.
Rood also refers to an obsolete British unit of linear measure between 16½ and 24 ft (5.0 and 7.3m). It is related to the German rute and the Danish rode. The original OED of 1914 said this sense was "now only in local use, and varying from 6 to 8 yards" (or 18 to 24 ft, "Rood", II.7).
- A catalogue of old documents with many areas quoted as "acres rods perches" including this one, as recent as 1907.
- Herbert Arthur Klein. (1988). The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey. New York: Dover. A corrected republication of The World of Measurements: Masterpieces, Mysteries and Muddles of Metrology, published by Simon & Schuster in 1974 and by George Allen & Unwin in 1975. pp65–66.