Measurements in Spanish
Ever wonder how Spanish-speakers talk about inches, pounds, and liters? They usually don’t.
In this article, we’ll give you a brief introduction to the metric system as well as show you how to use those terms in Spanish. And don’t worry—we’ll also give you the Spanish translations for all of las medidas, or measurements, used in the U.S. too, just in case you need them.
Talking About Length and Distance
Understanding the metric system is easy when you understand that the different measurements used for calculating length or distance are all divisible by 100. For example, there are one hundred centímetros, centimeters in English, in un metro, or a meter. For calculating units of length or distance larger than one meter, we also follow this pattern. Un kilómetro, one kilometer, is the same thing as athousand meters. Check out the tables below for the translations of the metric measurements, their American counterparts, and conversions for both.
Metric System for Measurements of Length and Distance
|millimeter||1/1,000th of a meter or .039 inches|
|centimeter||1/100th of a meter or .39 inches|
|meter||39 inches or 3.2 feet|
|kilometer||1,000 meters or .62 miles|
American System for Measurements of Length and Distance
|foot||.3 meters or 12 inches|
|yard||.91 meters or 3 feet|
|mile||1.6 kilometers or 5,280 feet|
That’s a lot of measurements! Here are a couple examples to help you make sense of them.
Talking About Weight and Fluid Volume
Spanish-speakers not only use the metric system for measuring length and distance, but also to calculate el peso y el volumen de líquidos, or the weight and fluid volume, of objects as well! Feel free to use these measurements when talking about the amount of water in a bottle or how heavy a package is. Check out the lists below to learn the translations of the metric measurements for weight and fluid volume, their American counterparts, and conversions for both.
Metric System for Measurement of Weight and Fluid Volume
|milligram||1/1,000th of a gram or .00004 ounces|
|kilogram||1,000 grams or 2.2 pounds|
|milliliter||1/1,000th of a litter or .03 fluid ounces|
|liter||33.8 fluid ounces|
American System for Measurements of Weight and Fluid Volume
|pound||16 ounces or .45 kilograms|
|ton||2,000 pounds or 907.2 kilograms|
|cup||8 fluid ounces or .24 liters|
|pint||2 cups or .47 liters|
|quart||2 pints or .95 liters|
|gallon||4 quarts (128 fluid ounces) or 3.79 liters|
You might have noticed that our translation above for a ton of information was not una tonelada de información, but un montón de información. In Spanish, you can only use tonelada when referring to something’s physical weight. If you want to use ton as an intensifier in order to talk about how much of something there is, be sure to use the Spanish word montón instead.
Talking About Temperature
In the United States, we use a system of measurement to talk about temperature called the Fahrenheit scale, where units of temperature are expressed in grados Fahrenheit, or degrees Fahrenheit in English. In the Spanish-speaking world (and the rest of the world), the Celsius scale is used. In the Celsius scale, units of temperature are expressed in grados centígrados, or degrees celsius in English. Check out the table below for the translations, freezing points, and boiling points of these two scales.
Scales of Temperature
|Spanish||English||Freezing Point||Boiling Point|