Metric Weights and Measures

A millimicron is one thousandth of one millionth of one meter.

Most of the world uses the metric system. The only countries not on this system are the U.S., Myanmar, and Liberia.

The metric system is based on 10s. For example, 10 decimeters make a meter (39.37 inches).

Units smaller than a meter have Latin prefixes:

  • Deci- means 10; 10 decimeters make a meter.
  • Centi- means 100; 100 centimeters make a meter.
  • Milli- means 1,000; 1,000 millimeters make a meter.

Units larger than a meter have Greek prefixes:

  • Deka- means 10; a dekameter is 10 meters.
  • Hecto- means 100; a hectometer is 100 meters.
  • Kilo- means 1,000; a kilometer is 1,000 meters.

Helpful Hints

Remember: A meter is a little more than a yard. A kilometer is less than a mile. A liter is a little more than a quart.

The Metric System

Length

Unit Value
Kilometer (km) 1,000 Meters
Hectometer (hm) 100 Meters
Dekameter (dam) 10 Meters
Meter (m) 1 Meter
Decimeter (dm) 0.1 Meter
Centimeter (cm) 0.01 Meters
Millimeter (mm) 0.001 Meters

Capacity

Unit Value
Kiloliter (kl) 1,000 Liters
Hectoliters (hl) 100 Liters
Dekaliters (dal) 10 Liters
Liter (l) 1 Liter(*)
Deciliter (dl) 0.10 Liters
Centiliter (cl) 0.01 Liters
Milliliter (ml) 0.001 Liters
* 1 liter + U.S. 1.057 quarts

Mass and Weight

Unit Value
Metric Ton 1,000,000 Grams
Quintal (P) 100,000 Grams
Myriagram 10,000 Grams
Kilogram 1,000 Grams
Hectogram 100 Grams
Dekagram 10 Grams
Gram 1 Gram(*)
Decigram 0.10 Grams
Centigram 0.01 Grams
Milligrams 0.001 Grams
* 1 gram + U.S. 0.035 ounces

U.S. Weights and MeasuresMeasurementThe International System (Metric)