# What Are Milliamps?

**A milliamp is a unit used to measure electrical current and is equal to one one-thousandth of an ampere.** The word "milliamp" is short for "milliampere." The ampere is the basic SI unit used to measure current, as established in 1948. The abbreviation for "ampere" is "A," and the abbreviation for "milliampere" is "mA."

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an ampere is equal to the current which, if allowed to travel through two parallel, straight conductors of infinite length and negligible cross sectional area placed in a vacuum with a space of 1 meter between them would generate a force of 2.0 x 10^-7 Newtons per meter. One milliampere is equal to one one-thousandth of this current. An ampere is also equal to one coulomb of charge per second.

The Ampere is named after Andre Marie Ampere, a French mathematician and physicist who lived from 1775 to 1836. Andre Marie Ampere was a pioneer in the field of electrodynamics. The ampere was first introduced as a unit of measure of current by the International Electrical Congress in 1893 and was confirmed at the International Conference of London in 1908. The word "ampere" is often shortened to "amp," both in scientific literature and everyday speech.