Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of weight formerly used in Spanish-speaking countries, equal to about 11.3 kilograms (25 pounds).
  • n. A unit of weight formerly used in Portuguese-speaking countries, equal to about 14.4 kilograms (32 pounds).
  • n. A liquid measure formerly used in Spanish-speaking countries, having varying value but equal to about 16.2 liters (17 quarts) when used to measure wine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An old Spanish weight used in Mexico and South America, approximately 25.36 pounds avoirdupois.
  • n. An old Portuguese weight used in Brazil, approximately 32.38 pounds avoirdupois.
  • n. An old Spanish liquid measure, approximately 3.54 imperial gallons (for wine) or 2.78 imperial gallons (for oil).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A Spanish weight used in Mexico and South America = 25.36 lbs. avoir.; also, an old Portuguese weight, used in Brazil = 32.38 lbs. avoir.
  • n. A Spanish liquid measure for wine = 3.54 imp. gallons, and for oil = 2.78 imp. gallons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Spanish and Portuguese unit of weight.
  • n. A measure for wine, spirits, and oil in Spanish countries, arising from the Moorish practice of weighing those liquids; the cantara.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a liquid measure (with different values) used in some Spanish speaking countries
  • n. a unit of weight used in some Spanish speaking countries

Etymologies

Spanish and Portuguese, both from Arabic ar-rub', the quarter (of a quintal) : al-, the + rub', quarter; see rbʿ in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Spanish, from Arabic, meaning "a quarter, a fourth part". (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "'Then please be so good as to order me an arroba of the best upland Peruvian small-leaf. Here are five guineas as earnest-money.'"
    --P. O'Brian, The Commodore, 205

    March 18, 2008

  • Ha! Ape tail? I like it!

    November 8, 2007

  • It is, of course, also the Spanish word for the at sign, or ape tail, @.

    Also, quarter of a quintal, one twentieth of a tonelada.

    November 7, 2007

  • A Spanish measure used for wine or oil. An arroba of wine is equivalent to a little more than 25 pounds of grapes (about one basketful), which yields about 4.25 gallons (about 16 liters) of wine. An arroba of oil equals about 3.3 gallons (12.56 liters).

    November 7, 2007