The Reason We Write ‘Lbs’ When We Mean ‘Pounds’ Is Surprisingly Logical

The English language is weird sometimes, y'all.

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If you’re a native English speaker, you’re probably immune to noticing some of the seriously weird quirks of our language. But speak to anyone who learnt English as a second language, and you’ll soon realise that our grammar and vocab rules are hella weird.

Take prepositions, for example. Many English verbs have multiple meanings depending on what preposition comes after them: you break up with your boyfriend, but you break out in spots. Then there’s our irregular adjectives: “good, better, best”, not “good, gooder, goodest.” And don’t even get started on spelling. Pneumonia, anyone? February? WEDNESDAY?

Of course, all that pales in comparison to some of the strange abbreviations we use for certain words. Most of the seemingly illogical abbreviations are due to the word having its origins in a Latin language, but until you figure that out you could be left scratching your head.

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One which really had us wondering recently was “lb,” which is commonly used n place of “pound” when referring to weight. Odd, because the two share none of the same letters.

However linguistic research reveals that “lb” is actually based on the Latin word “libra.” Libra’s primary meaning is “balance or scales,” but it is also linked to the Roman “libra pondo” meaning “a pound by weight.”

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So there you have it. Next time you’re discussing stones and pounds, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re actually giving a nod to the ancient roots of the English language.

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