Definition of avoirdupois in English:


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  • 1A system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces or 7,000 grains, widely used in English-speaking countries.

    Compare with troy

    as modifier ‘avoirdupois weights’
    • ‘a pound avoirdupois’
    • ‘In the metric system, the base unit of weight is the gram; in the avoirdupois system, it's the pound.’
    • ‘The stigmas can only be picked by hand, and it requires 70,000 flowers to obtain one pound avoirdupois of saffron; or 0.5 hectares to yield about 4.5 kg of dried saffron.’
    • ‘Gold is measured using troy weights (as opposed to the more familiar avoirdupois weights): 24 grains make a pennyweight, and 20 pennyweights make a 31.1-gram troy ounce.’
    • ‘Just as the apothecary and avoirdupois systems of measurement have faded from our texts so should Young's, Cowling's, Fried's, and Clarke's equations fade into history.’
    • ‘It shall weigh not less than 5 nor more than 5 1/4 ounces avoirdupois and measure not less than 9 nor more than 9 1/4 inches in circumference.’
    1. 1.1 humorous Weight; heaviness.
      ‘she was putting on the avoirdupois like nobody's business’
      • ‘Dalgleish's retirement makes him the latest in a long line of jockeys having to admit that their avoirdupois is just too great a burden.’
      • ‘That my current hometown of Washington hasn't gnawed its way into this rating is a bit shocking, considering the ample avoirdupois on the streets of your nation's capital.’
      • ‘Now, children are driven to and from school and in their lunch boxes you'll find potato crisps, sweets, chocolate and other goodies that add on the avoirdupois.’
      • ‘This left the rather more serious avoirdupois problem.’
      • ‘The London version of the Sunday Times may not have attained the same avoirdupois but it is still the biggest bruiser on the Irish Sunday block necessitating a strong pair of arms to master its format.’
      • ‘The celebrator of fullness, he is the fat cook not only because of his personal avoirdupois but also because he writes his signature with butter on a dish already heavy with suet and cream.’
      • ‘Or being hit from the blind side by someone of far great avoirdupois and wondering how the frame survived.’
      • ‘Then that's the great thing about golf, age and avoirdupois seemingly is no barrier to success.’
      • ‘These versions, however, highlight the burglar's avoirdupois in a way that the writer almost surely didn't want, and they lose the nice increasing-weight effect of, which puts the longest, heaviest descriptor last.’
      • ‘But beauty lay in the eye of the beholder, and the Edwardian cartophile beholders were fleshy fat persons, who consumed large dinners and showed their wealth through an excess of avoirdupois.’
      • ‘She calls Pratt ‘woefully small and bigoted’ and mocks his ‘imposing avoirdupois.’’
      • ‘The first and superb Willy Loman was Lee J. Cobb, of great talent and considerable avoirdupois to make his fall reverberant.’
      • ‘She also thinks that joshing about stature is probably considered to be more benign than, say, pointing out avoirdupois.’
      • ‘I suppose I should be thankful for the chance to make a fetish out of aging and avoirdupois.’
      heaviness, mass, load, burden, pressure, force



/ˌävərdəˈpoiz/ /ˌɑvərdəˈpɔɪz/ /ˌävərdəˈpwä/ /ˌɑvərdəˈpwɑ/


Middle English (denoting merchandise sold by weight): from Old French aveir de peis ‘goods of weight’, from aveir ‘to have’ (infinitive used as a noun, from Latin habere) + peis ‘weight’ (see poise).