How many feet are in a fathom?


Quick Answer

There are 6 feet in a fathom. A fathom is a nautical unit of distance for ocean depth, which is measured as soundings.

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Full Answer

"Fathom" is derived from an Old English word meaning "length of an extended arm," which is roughly equivalent to 6 feet. It is closely related to the Old Saxon "fathmos," meaning "outstretched arms," and the Dutch "vadem," meaning "6 feet in length."

Prior to being established as a naval unit of measurement, fathom was proclaimed by the British Parliament as the extent of a man's embrace around his beloved. In modern times, aside from fathoms, other units of measurement for water depths include meters and feet.

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