Thai units of measurement

Thailand adopted the metric system on 17 December 1923.[1] However, old Thai units are still in common use, especially for measurements of land.[2]

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.[3] 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.

List of units

UnitThai spellingPronunciation (IPA)Meaning equivalentRelative equivalentMetric equivalent
Length
Krabiatกระเบียด[krà.bìat]Quarter of a finger0.5208 cm[4]
Nioนิ้ว[níw]Siamese inch[5]
Cf. Digit (unit)
finger (unit)
4 krabiat[6]2.083 cm [7]
Khuepคืบ[kʰɯ̂ːp]Span12 nio[6]25 cm
Sokศอก[sɔ̀ːk]Cubit2 khuep[6]50 cm
Waวา[wāː]Fathom
(outstretched arms)
4 sok[6]2 m
Senเส้น[sên]Cf. Rope (unit)
line of rope
[3]
20 wa[6]40 m
Yotโยชน์[jôːt]400 sen[6]16 km
Area
Tarang waตารางวา[tāː.rāːŋ wāː]Square wa4 m2
Nganงาน[ŋāːn]100 tarang wa400 m2
Raiไร่[râj]4 ngan1,600 m2 (16 a)
Volume
Yip mueหยิบมือ[jìp mɯ̄ː]Pinch7.8125 ml
Kam mueกำมือ[kām mɯ̄ː]Grain held in an enclosed hand4 yip mue[6]31.25 ml
Fai mueฟายมือ[fāːj mɯ̄ː]Grain held in the palm4 kam mue[6]125 ml
Thananทะนาน[tʰa.nāːn]Coconut shell used for measuring8 fai mue[6]1 l
Thangถัง[tʰǎŋ]Bucket20 thanan[6]20 l
Satสัด[sàt]Measuring basket25 thanan[6]25 l
Kwianเกวียน[kwīːan]Cartload100 thang[6]2 m3
Weight/mass
Saluengสลึง[sa.lɯ̌ŋ]3.75 g
Baht or
Bat
บาท[bàːt]4 salueng[6]15 g
Tamluengตำลึง[tām.lɯ̄ŋ]Tael4 baht[6]60 g
Changชั่ง[tɕʰâŋ]Catty20 tamlueng[6]1,200 g
Hapหาบ[hàːp]Picul50 chang[6]60 kg

References

  1. Minutes of the 7th General Conference on Weights and Measures, 1927, page 69
  2. "Measurements in Thailand". ThaiLawOnline. Isaan Lawyers. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  3. Giblin, R. W. (2008) [1908]. "Royal Survey Work.". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T (eds.). Twentieth century impressions of Siam (65.3 MB). London&c: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Company. p. 126. Retrieved 28 January 2012. All cadastral plans are plotted, drawn, and printed to a scale of 1 to 4,000....
  4. "Krabiat (กระเบียด, Quarter Of A Finger) Conversion Chart". convert-me.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  5. 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....
  6. Royal Institute (2003), พจนานุกรม ฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๒ (Royal Institute Dictionary, BE 2542) (in Thai), Bangkok: Nanmee Books Publications, ISBN 974-9588-04-5, archived from the original on 2012-01-03.
  7. https://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/length/thainio.html?u=thainio&v=1
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