acre, measure of land area used in the English units of measurement. The acre was originally the area a yoke of oxen could plow in a day and therefore differed in size from one locality to another. It is now fixed as 10 square chains or 160 square rods, i.e., 4,840 sq yd, 43,560 sq ft, or 1/640 sq mi. It is equal to about .4047 of a hectare or 4,046.9 sq m.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.