Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Word of the Day -- Gill (unit)

So I spent a lot of the holiday re-watching a lot of Archer episodes.  You find a lot of interesting words in that show.  Here's one I had not come across before the show...

The gill is a unit of measurement for volume equal to a quarter of a pint. It is no longer in common use, except in regard to the volume of alcoholic spirits measures. In imperial units
1 imperial gill

≡ 5 imperial fluid ounces

≡ 1⁄32 imperial gallon

≡ 1⁄4 imperial pint

≡ 142.0653125 ml

≈ 142 ml

≈ 1.2 US gills

In United States customary units
1 US gill

≡ 4 US fl oz

≡ 1⁄32 US gallon

≡ 1⁄4 US pint

≡ 1⁄2 US cup

≡ 8 tablespoons

≡ 24 teaspoons

≡ 32 US fluid drams

≡ 77⁄32 in3

≡ 118.29411825 ml

≈ 118 ml

≈ 5⁄6 imperial gills


In Great Britain, the standard single measure of spirits in a pub was 1⁄6 gill (23.7 ml) in England, and 1⁄5 gill (28.4 ml) in Scotland; after metrication this was replaced by either 25 or 35 ml (0.176- or 0.246-gill) measures (landlords can choose which one to serve). The 1⁄4 gill was previously the most common measure in Scotland, and still remains as the standard measure in pubs in Ireland. In southern England, it is also called a noggin. In northern England, however, the large noggin is used, which is two gills. In some areas, a gill came to mean half a pint for both beer and milk.

In Ireland, the standard spirit measure was historically 1⁄4 gill. In the Republic of Ireland, it still retains this value, though it is now legally specified in metric units as 35.5 ml.

There are occasional references to a gill in popular culture, such as in the cumulative song "The Barley Mow". In L. Frank Baum's "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" one of the ingredients required for a magic spell is a gill of water from a dark well. In chapter 19 the obscure unit is used for humor including a pun with Jack and Jill, which also involved a well. It is also referenced in FX's animated cartoon "Archer", in both Episodes "Blood Test" (Season 2, Episode 3).  and "Heart of Archness: Part Three" (Season 3, Episode 3).  The word also appeared in a 2013 edition of the BBC TV programme QI, when it was mispronounced by show host Stephen Fry with a hard 'g' sound.

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