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Why Is "Lbs" the Abbreviation for Pounds?

While the word pounds is an English word for a unit of weight measure, its common abbreviation of lbs goes against normal protocol because it does not share letters from the word for which it stands. This is because the English word gets its abbreviation from the word’s Latin origins. Lbs is the abbreviation for pounds because it is derived from the Latin word (and astrological sign) libra, which means scales or balance. The connection between pounds and libra is also thought to come from the phrase libra pondo, or “a pound by weight.” The Latin libra is also applied to the word pound outside of weight – it is the origin for the abbreviation of pound in the sense of British currency (£).

More about word origins:

  • The word kibosh, as used in the phrase “put the kibosh on it” is thought to be from the Gaelic phrase meaning “cap of death,” which was worn by executioners.

  • A British admiral, John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, is credited with the first usage of “OMG” as an abbreviation for “Oh my God.” He used the abbreviation in his 1917 memoir, written when he was 75.

  • A Greek word meaning “song of the male goat” is thought to be the basis of the word tragedy.

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