ki·​lo·​gram | \ ˈki-lə-ˌgram How to pronounce kilogram (audio) , ˈkē-lə- How to pronounce kilogram (audio) \

Definition of kilogram

1 : the base unit of mass in the International System of Units that is defined by setting the fixed numerical value of Planck's constant to 6.62607015 x 10–34 joule seconds — see Metric System Table
2 : a unit of force or weight equal to the weight of a kilogram mass under a gravitational attraction equal to that of the earth

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Did You Know?

The original concept of the kilogram, as the mass of a cubic decimeter of water (a bit more than a quart), was adopted as the base unit of mass by the new revolutionary government of France in 1793. In 1875, in the Treaty of the Meter, 17 countries, including the U.S., adopted the French kilogram as an international standard. In 1889 a new international standard for the kilogram, a metal bar made of platinum iridium, was agreed to; President Benjamin Harrison officially received the 1-kilogram cylinder for the U.S. in 1890. But no one uses that bar very often; for all practical purposes, a kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.

Examples of kilogram in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The price of a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sugar has gone from 700 Syrian pounds to around 2,400 this year. Albert Aji, Star Tribune, "Syrian president decrees financial stimulus amid crisis," 16 Mar. 2021 One of the few Israeli companies represented at IDEX, small-arms manufacturer Emtan Karmiel Ltd., halted production at its factory for several weeks and faced shipping costs that ballooned from $5 to $20 per kilogram. Brett Forrest, WSJ, "Covid-19 Subdues Growth in Global Arms Industry," 20 Mar. 2021 One way would be to say that a kilogram is the mass of 1 liter of water. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How to Figure Out the Mass of the Earth—With Balls and String," 8 Mar. 2021 The Bug Picture pays Mejia and his neighbours 50 Kenyan shillings ($0.4566) per kilogram of the insects. Reuters, ABC News, "Farmers fight back: making animal feed from a locust plague," 24 Feb. 2021 Through its Green Hydrogen Catapult initiative, the UN is working to make hydrogen more competitive by bringing the cost down to below $2 per kilogram by 2025. Alex Ivanenko, Forbes, "Get Ready: The Hydrogen Economy Is On Its Way," 11 Mar. 2021 Around 1,000 to 4,000 orchid plants are used to make a single kilogram of salep, a beloved drink in Turkey that is like a cross between hot chocolate and rice pudding. New York Times, "74 of Our Favorite Facts for 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 Another common guideline is to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Brierley Horton, Ms, Better Homes & Gardens, "Is Protein Powder Actually Good for You? The Scoop from a Dietitian," 26 Feb. 2021 Surur was charged with conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking, wildlife trafficking, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute and possess one kilogram or more of heroin. Larry Neumeister, Star Tribune, "Man charged in rhino horns, elephant ivory trafficking case," 25 Jan. 2021

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

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First Known Use of kilogram

1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for kilogram

French kilogramme, from kilo- + gramme gram

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Time Traveler for kilogram

Time Traveler

The first known use of kilogram was in 1797

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Statistics for kilogram

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kilogram.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for kilogram



English Language Learners Definition of kilogram

: a unit of weight equal to 1,000 grams


ki·​lo·​gram | \ ˈki-lə-ˌgram How to pronounce kilogram (audio) \

Kids Definition of kilogram

: a metric unit of weight equal to 1000 grams


variants: or chiefly British kilogramme \ ˈkil-​ə-​ˌgram How to pronounce kilogram (audio) , ˈkē-​lə-​ How to pronounce kilogram (audio) \

Medical Definition of kilogram

1 : the base unit of mass in the International System of Units that is equal to the mass of a prototype agreed upon by international convention and that is nearly equal to the mass of 1000 cubic centimeters of water at the temperature of its maximum density
2 : a unit of force equal to the weight of a kilogram mass under a gravitational attraction equal to that of the earth

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More from Merriam-Webster on kilogram

Nglish: Translation of kilogram for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kilogram for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about kilogram

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