Word of the Day : April 13, 2019

cubit

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noun KYOO-bit

Definition

: 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)

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

The teacher explained that the ancient Egyptians did not measure things in feet and yards as we do but rather calculated measurements using the cubit.

"Noah's big boat, 300 cubits long by 50 cubits wide by 30 cubits high and jammed to its gunwales with wildlife, has been a favorite metaphor among books about biological diversity."
— David Quammen, The New York Times Book Review, 23 Apr. 1995



Test Your Vocabulary

What word begins with "t," now usually implies aptitude or ability, and has an earlier sense referring to an ancient unit of weight and money?

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