from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Avoirdupois weight.
  • noun Informal Weight or heaviness, especially of a person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A system of weight in which one pound contains 16 ounces.
  • noun The weight of anything according to the avoirdupois system: as, his avoirdupois was 150 pounds.
  • noun Also written averdupois, and often abbreviated to avoir. and avdp.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • obsolete Goods sold by weight.
  • Avoirdupois weight.
  • colloq. Weight; heaviness.
  • a system of weights by which coarser commodities are weighed, such as hay, grain, butter, sugar, tea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The official system of weights used in UK between 1856 and 1963. It had been the customary system in London since 1300 CE.
  • noun The official system of weights used in USA between 1866 and 1959.
  • noun Weight; heaviness.

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

  • noun a system of weights based on the 16-ounce pound (or 7,000 grains)
  • noun excess bodily weight


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

[Middle English avoir de pois, commodities sold by weight, alteration of Old French aveir de peis, goods of weight : aveir, avoir, to have (from Latin habēre; see able) + de, of (from Latin , from; see de–) + peis, pois, weight (from Vulgar Latin *pēsum, from Latin pēnsum, past participle of pendere, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French avoir + de + pois ("good of weight"), compare Modern French poids ("weight")


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word avoirdupois.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "'There ain't enough room for it on the slate, and anyhow they are avoirdupois ounces instead of Troy. But... the answer is well over two millions of money.'"

    --P. O'Brian, The Wine-Dark Sea, 227

    March 16, 2008

  • 'To have some peas'?

    September 28, 2008

  • To see peas?

    September 28, 2008

  • Seeing peas? Having seen peas?

    September 28, 2008

  • Good-bye to peas - slang?

    September 28, 2008

  • A Sea of Words: "The standard system of weights used in Great Britain for all goods except precious metals, precious stones, and medicines. The avoirdupois pound contains 7,000 grains. The avoirdupois weight of the U.S. agrees with that of Great Britain in the pound, ounce, and dram, but the U.S. hundredweight contains 100 pounds and the British hundredweight 112 pounds; the ton, 20 hundredweights, differs accordingly in the U.S. and Britain." (p. 95–96)

    October 13, 2008