The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre.

One acre comprises 4,840 square yards or 43,560 square feet[1] (which can be easily remembered as 44,000 square feet, less 1%). Because of alternative definitions of a yard or a foot, the exact size of an acre also varies slightly. Originally, an acre was a selion of land one furlong (660 ft) long and one chain (66 ft) wide; the measure appears to have begun as an approximation of the amount of land an ox could plow in one day. However, an acre is a measure of area, and has no particular width, length or shape.

The acre is often used to express areas of land. In the metric system, the hectare is commonly used for the same purpose. An acre is approximately 40% of a hectare.

Equivalence to other units of areaEdit

1 international acre is equal to the following metric units:

1 United States survey acre is equal to:

1 acre (both variants) is equal to the following customary units:

  • 66 feet × 660 feet (43,560 square feet)
  • 1 chain × 10 chains (1 chain = 66 feet = 22 yards = 4 rods = 100 links)
  • 1 acre is approximately 208.71 feet × 208.71 feet (a square)
  • 4840 square yards
  • 160 perches. A perch is equal to a square rod (1 square rod is 0.00625 acre)
  • 10 square chains
  • 4 roods
  • A chain by a furlong (chain 22 yards, furlong 220 yards)
  • 0.0015625 square mile (1 square mile is equal to 640 acres)

Historical origin Edit

The word "acre" is derived from Old English æcer (originally meaning "open field", cognate to west coast Norwegian language "ækre" and Swedish "åker", German Acker, Latin ager and Greek αγρος (agros).

The acre was approximately the amount of land tillable by one man behind an ox in one day. This explains one definition as the area of a rectangle with sides of length one chain and one furlong. A long narrow strip of land is more efficient to plough than a square plot, since the plough does not have to be turned so often. The word "furlong" itself derives from the fact that it is one furrow long.

Before the enactment of the metric system, many countries in Europe used their own official acres. These were differently sized in different countries, for instance, the historical French acre was 4221 square metres, whereas in Germany as many variants of "acre" existed as there were German states.

Statutory values for the acre were enacted in England by various acts including:

Historically, the size of farms and landed estates in the United Kingdom was usually expressed in acres (or acres, roods, and perches), even if the number of acres was so large that it might conveniently have been expressed in square miles. For example, a certain landowner might have been said to own 32,000 acres of land, not 50 square miles of land.


Main article: Wikipedia:Acre
  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology General Tables of Units of Measurement

See also Edit

External linksEdit

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