Thai units of measurement

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Before metrication, the traditional system of measurement used in Thailand employed anthropic units. Some of these units are still in use, albeit standardised to SI/metric measurements. When the Royal Thai Survey Department began cadastral survey in 1896, Director R. W. Giblin, F.R.G.S., noted, "It so happens that 40 metres or 4,000 centimetres are equal to one sen," so all cadastral plans are plotted, drawn, and printed to a scale of 1:4,000.[1] The square wa, ngan and rai are still used in measurements of land area.

The baht is still used as a unit of measurement in gold trading. However, one baht of 96.5% gold bullion is defined as 15.16 grams rather than the generic standard of 15 grams. The baht has also become the name of the currency of Thailand, which was originally fixed to the corresponding mass of silver.

Unit Thai spelling Pronunciation (IPA) Meaning equivalent Relative equivalent Metric equivalent
Length
Krabiat กระเบียด  [krà.bìat] 25/48 cm
Nio นิ้ว [níw] Siamese inch[2]
Cf. Digit (unit)
finger (unit)
4 krabiat 25/12 cm
Khuep คืบ [kʰɯ̂ːp] Span 12 nio 25 cm
Sok ศอก [sɔ̀ːk] Cubit 2 khuep 50 cm
Wa วา [wāː] Fathom
(outstretched arms)
4 sok 2 m
Sen เส้น [sên] Cf. Rope (unit)
line of rope
[1]
20 wa 40 m
Yot โยชน์ [jôːt] Cf. league[3][4] 400 sen 16 km
Area
Tarang wa ตารางวา [tāː.rāːŋ wāː] Square wa 4 m2
Ngan งาน [ŋāːn] 100 tarang wa 400 m2
Rai ไร่ [râj] 4 ngan 1,600 m2 (16 a)
Volume
Yip mue หยิบมือ [jìp mɯ̄ː] Pinch 7.8125 ml
Kam mue กำมือ [kām mɯ̄ː] Grain held in an enclosed hand 4 yip mue 31.25 ml
Fai mue ฟายมือ [fāːj mɯ̄ː] Grain held in the palm 4 kam mue 125 ml
Thanan ทะนาน [tʰa.nāːn] Held in coconut shell[5] 8 fai mue 1 l
Thang ถัง [tʰǎŋ] Tank[6] 20 thanan 20 l
Kwian เกวียน [kwīːan] Cartload (cf. Cart) 100 thang 2,000 l
Weight/mass
Salueng สลึง [sa.lɯ̌ŋ] 3.75 g
Baht บาท [bàːt] 4 salueng 15 g
Tamlueng ตำลึง [tām.lɯ̄ŋ] Tael 4 baht 60 g
Chang ชั่ง [tɕʰâŋ] Catty 20 tamlueng 1,200 g
Hap หาบ [hàːp] Picul 50 chang 60 kg

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Giblin, R. W. (2008) [1908]. "Royal Survey Work.". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T. Twentieth century impressions of Siam (65.3 MB). London&c: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Company. p. 126. Retrieved January 28, 2012. "All cadastral plans are plotted, drawn, and printed to a scale of 1 to 4,000...." 
  2. ^ Edmund Roberts (20 March 1833). "Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Siam and the United States". Spotlight on Treaty of Amity > Article III. Embassy of the United States Bangkok, Thailand. Retrieved 12 March 2012. "...said fathom being computed to contain 78 English or American inches, corresponding to 96 Siamese inches...." 
  3. ^ So Sethaputra, สอ เสถบุตร (2542 BE/AD 1999). New Model Thai-English Dictionary. Bangkok: ไทยวัฒนาพานิช : Thai Watthanā Phānit. p. 239. ISBN 974-08-3253-9. "โยชน์ n. an old unit of distance, equivalent to about 16 [sic?] kilometers ใด้ทะเลสอมสองหมื่นโยชน์ n. Jules Verne's"Twenty-thousand Leagues under the Sea""  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ So Sethaputra, สอ เสถบุตร (2540 BE/AD 1997). New Model English-Thai Dictionary. Bangkok: ไทยวัฒนาพานิช : Thai Watthanā Phānit. p. 327. ISBN 974-08-3253-9. "league n. หน่วัดระยะทาง = สามไมล์หรือ ๑๒๐ เส้น"  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "ไทย-to-English Bulk Lookup". RID เครื่องตวงอย่างหนึ่งทำด้วยกะโหลกมะพร้าวเป็นต้น. Thai-language.com. March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012. "permanent link" 
  6. ^ Glenn Slayden, ed. (August 8, 2013). "ถัง thangR" (Dictionary). Lookup. Thai-language.com. Retrieved 2013-11-20. "1. bucket, pail, tank, or other enclosure for water. 2. [numerical classifier for filled bucket, filled pail]. 3. (military) tank. 4. ancient formal measure corresponding to 20 ฟายมือ."