cu·​bit | \ ˈkyü-bət How to pronounce cubit (audio) \

Definition of cubit

: any of various ancient units of length based on the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger and usually equal to about 18 inches (46 centimeters)

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The cubit is an ancient unit of length that may have originated in Egypt close to 5,000 years ago. Cubit can refer to various units used in the ancient world, the actual length of which varied from time to time and place to place, but which was generally equivalent to the length of the human arm from elbow to fingertip-roughly about a foot and a half. (Appropriately, the word's source is a Latin word meaning "elbow.") Starting with the Wycliffe Bible in 1382, cubit has been used as the English translation for the measurement known in Biblical Hebrew as the ammah and in Koine as the péchus.

Examples of cubit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The English from at least medieval times have hewed to their own measurements—cubits, stones, miles, acres—some of which are still used in America. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "English Vigilantes Use Ladders, Sticky Letters to Exterminate the Metric System," 23 Oct. 2017 Cubit cut his ditch through a natural levee, formed by the pileup of sediment on the river's bank. Tristan Baurick,, "Old accident in Mississippi Delta holds lessons for saving Louisiana's coast," 25 Aug. 2017 These towers were said to be 60 cubits (90 feet) tall and covered with skins which were treated in vinegar, mud, and fire-resistant substances. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 10 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cubit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cubit

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cubit

Middle English, from Latin cubitum elbow, cubit

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cubit

Listen to Our Podcast about cubit

Statistics for cubit

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cubit

The first known use of cubit was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cubit


cu·​bit | \ ˈkyü-bət How to pronounce cubit (audio) \

Kids Definition of cubit

: a unit of length usually equal to about 18 inches (46 centimeters)

More from Merriam-Webster on cubit Encyclopedia article about cubit

Comments on cubit

What made you want to look up cubit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!