Definitions

# yard

[yahrd]
yard, abbr. yd, basic unit of length in the customary system of English units of measurement; all other units in the English system, such as the inch, foot, rod, and mile, are derived from it. Since 1893 the yard has been defined in terms of the meter, the basic unit of length in the metric system. For a long time the yard was held to equal 3600/3937 of a meter; it has since been recalculated so that 1 yd equals 0.9144 m. In the United States results of geodetic surveys are still expressed in feet based on the former definition of the yard; this is known as the U.S. Survey Foot, defined as 1200/3937 of a meter.
A yard (abbreviation: yd) is a unit of length in several different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. Its size can varies from system to system. The most commonly used yard today is the international yard, which is equal to 0.9144 metre.

The yard is used as the standard unit of field-length measurement in the American, English, and Canadian games of football (although Canada has officially adopted the metric system).

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 only provides for the use of yards and miles when showing distances on British road signposts. But, in 2007 and 2008, many driver location signs using kilometers to specify the distance from specified reference points were erected on many British Motorways.

A corresponding unit of area is the square yard.

In the context of American and Canadian concrete mixers' loads, a cubic yard is always called simply a yard. A typical marking would indicate that a mixer had a capacity of "11 yards" or "1.5 yards".

Yard also is a term used in financial markets for one billion (1010) units of currency (derived from the French milliard) in order to avoid the ambiguity between "billion" and "million". Example: a yard of dollars is \$1bn.

## Equivalence to other units of length

1 international yard is equal to:

• 0.5 fathom (1 fathom is equal to 2 yards)
• 3 feet (1 foot is a third of a yard)
• 36 inches
• 0.9144 metre (1 metre is equal to about 1.0936 international yards)

The early yard was divided by the binary method into two, four, eight, and sixteen parts called the half-yard, span, finger, and nail. Two yards are a fathom.

## Historical origin

The yard derives its name from the word for a straight branch or rod, although the precise origin of the measure is not definitely known. Some believe it derived from the double cubit, or that it originated from cubic measure, others from its near equivalents, like the length of a stride or pace. One postulate was that the yard was derived from the girth of a person's waist, while another claim held that the measure was invented by Henry I of England as being the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb. These are believed to be more likely standardising events than a random invention of the measure.

In currency and financial market usage, "yard" derives from "milliard", a now rarely used term for 1,000,000,000.