from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A unit of energy and work in the meter-kilogram-second system, equal to the work performed by a one-kilogram force acting through a distance of one meter.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a unit of work, equal to that done by a force of one kilogram acting through a distance of one meter
Sorry, no etymologies found.
So, for example, a force adequate to lift one pound a distance of one foot is a foot-pound; that capable of lifting one kilogram a distance of one meter is a kilogram-meter, etc.
Someone can please correct me on this if I am in error, but here's what I come up with: a volt is defined as the difference in electric potential that is required to impart to 1 coulomb of electricity a kinetic energy of 1 joule = 1 newton-meter = 1 kilogram-meter/second/second = 1 watt-second, and since there are 6.24 x 10 to the 18th power electrons in a coulomb (according to Wikipedia, of course), this means that 1 electron-volt = 1/(6.24E18) = 1.60 times 10 to the minus 19th power watt-second.