"Wine" gallon vs. "imperial" gallon

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 11 20:24:31 UTC 2009

As most of us know, the gallon measure used in the U.S. is of a
smaller capacity than the gallon measure used elsewhere in the former
realms of the British Empire. It's been read that the reason for this
is that the rest of the former empire uses the standard imperial
gallon, whereas the U.S., having left home earlier than the
otherchildren, uses an older measure, now known as the "wine" gallon.

However, there exists a saying,

"A pint's a pound _the world around_."

But it's the case that a pint of water weighs a pound only if the wine
gallon, used only in the States, is the standard and not the imperial
gallon. What up wit' dat? Is the saying older than the establishment
of the imperial gallon? Or am I simply in a ball of confusion?

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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