List of human-based units of measure

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This is a list of units of measure based on human body parts or the attributes or abilities of humans. It does not include derived units further unless they are also themselves human-based. These units are thus considered to be human scale and anthropocentric.


  • Quinaria - the cross-sectional area of a pipe created from a flat sheet of lead 5 digits wide
  • Stremma - the amount of land a person can plow in a day


  • Ald - the distance between a man's outstretched arms
  • Assbā - Arabic finger
  • Beard-second - the length a beard grows in a second
  • Condylos - middle joint of finger
  • Cun - width of the human thumb, at the knuckle
  • Dactylos - Ancient Greek finger breadth
  • Digit - length of a human finger
  • Etzba - fingerbreadth
  • Fathom - the distance between the fingertips of a man's outstretched arms
  • Finger
  • Fistmele - the measure of a clenched hand with the thumb extended
  • Gradus - Ancient Roman step
  • Hand - breadth of a male human hand
  • League - the distance a person can walk in an hour (by one definition)
  • Lichas - thumb length
  • Orgyia - Ancient Greek fathom
  • Parasang - the distance an infantryman could march in a predefined period of time
  • Pygmē - distance from elbow to base of fingers
  • Sazhen - Russian fathom
  • Shaftment - width of the fist and outstretched thumb
  • Smoot - Oliver R. Smoot's height in October 1958
  • Span - width of a human hand, from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger
  • Spithamē - Ancient Greek span
  • Zeret - Biblical span


  • Haploun bēma - Ancient Greek single pace
  • Orgye - Arabic pace
  • Pace - a full stride, from heel to heel
  • Passus - the pace step of a single legionary





  • Duym - Tatar thumb/inch
  • Inch - length of the thumb (by some definitions)
  • Uncia - Roman inch
  • Zoll - German inch




  • Picul - the weight a person can carry


  • Nimesha - the time it takes for a person to blink
  • Paramanu - interval of blinking in humans



See also[edit]