Definition: Kilogram

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From French kilogramme: kilo- irregularly derived from Ancient Greek χίλιοι (khílioi, “one thousand”) +‎ gramme, from Ancient Greek γράμμα (grámma, “a small weight, a scruple”).


kilogram (plural kilograms)

  1. In the International System of Units, the base unit of mass; the mass of a specific cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France. Symbol: kg
  2. (proscribed) Hence, the unit of weight such that one-kilogram mass is also a one-kilogram weight.

Usage notes

  • (proscribed, unit of weight): The use of the kilogram as a unit of weight is somewhat imprecise, as the weight of a one-kilogram mass will depend on its location. It is therefore frequently proscribed, but is nonetheless in wide use. (The same imprecision and proscription also occur with many other words pertaining to weight and mass, such as the verb .)
  • Whilst one kilogram equals 1,000 grams, it is the kilogram and not the gram that is the base unit.

Derived terms

  • kilogram calorie
  • kilogram-meter
  • meter-kilogram-second


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