How and why did the British develop one stone (14 lbs) as a weight measurement?

Is it still common in the UK to give a person’s weight in ‘stone’? (1 stone = 14 pounds.) What is the implication of or reason for using stone rather than pounds?

Stone is a British unit of weight that i 1st became familiar with when watching a boximg match. the weight of each fighter was announced in Stones. 14 pounds= 1 Stone, so 140 pounds divided by 14 would equal 10 Stones.

The simple answer is that we don’t generally make conversions between the two. You either weigh yourself in kilos or you weigh yourself in stones and pounds, and you keep track of your own weight using whichever system you are happy with while remaining blissfully unaware of your weight in the other.

I am fifty and I made a conscious decision about twenty years ago to use metric measures as much as possible, so I weigh myself in kilos. I normally weigh 70kg but I’ve recently crept up to around 72kg because I have a niggle with my knee which is preventing me from running at the moment. I only…

However much weight you want to lose, you should set realistic targets — do not try to lose too much or you will either fail, or succeed in the short-term and then put it all back on again.

You can, of course, set long-term targets for example the weight or the Body Mass Index (BMI) that you want to be in two or three years time, and plan how you will get there. You may want to tie your long-term target to a big event — a special birthday or anniversary. Then set some short-term targets to help you on the way to your long-term ones.

It is not easy to lose weight and keep it off, it will take effort, but with proper planning and commitment it can be done. If you have tried to lose weight before and failed, or succeeded and then put it back on again, if is even more important that you plan carefully.

Realistic goals

If you are overweight or obese, to be realistic and stand a good chance of succeeding, you should aim to lose 10% of your current weight. The calculator below can work out how much this is, for you. Research has shown that aiming for smaller weight losses helps people lose weight permanently.

Most overweight or obese people want to lose more than 10% of their current weight, if this is true for you, Weight Concern recommends that you lose 10% then try and maintain your weight at its new level for a few months, before attempting to lose another 10%. You will eventually lose all the weight you want to, and will have learnt how to avoid putting it all back on again.

If you think that 10% is too much to try and lose, do not give up — try to lose 5%. With a loss of just 5%, there will be improvements in your health and you will feel better. Having succeeded once, if you maintain your new weight for a few months you can then try and lose another 5%.


less than 18.5: you may be underweight
from 18.5 to 24.9: you are at a good weight
from 25 to 29.9: you are overweight
30 or higher: you are obese

Link: How can I lose weight?


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Note: Fractional results are rounded to the nearest 1/64. For a more accurate answer please select ‘decimal’ from the options above the result.

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Essentially, because Roman numerals are a pain in the butt.

Before Arabic (decimal) numbers arrived in Europe from India via Arab traders, everyone used Roman numerals because that’s what the Romans had used and they represented the pinnacle of civilization (so far as anyone could remember). Trouble is, without decimals, fractions are a pain. So you try to establish standard amounts for things that are easily divisible and sub-divisible without fractions.

One of these numbers was 112. The British have another unit of weight called the hundredweight, which is actually 112 pounds. A stone …

If stating a person’s weight in the UK, it will nearly always be stated either in stones and pounds or in kilogrammes.

So somebody might say they weigh 15 st. 2 lbs, or they might say they weigh 95 kg. They would be very unlikely (in my experience) to say they weighed (excuse me a moment, while I work this one out….) err… 212 lbs. (Did I get the maths right?)

Why? Well, our bathroom scales are marked in stones and pounds, and also in kg. They are not marked in pounds alone. People here are just not used to hearing their weights being quoted in pounds.

Tell me that somebody weighs 10 stones, …



Unit of:

Worldwide use:

  • The stone is also used in horse racing to describe the weight that a horse has to carry (not necessarily just the jockey, this weight can also include penalties and suchlike).
  • The stone is still habitually used to express human bodyweight in some sports in the UK and Ireland, such as boxing and wrestling.
  • A British or Irish person will commonly express their weight in stone and pounds (eg. 12 st 6 lbs) instead of purely in pounds as would be the case in the United States (174 lbs).
  • The stone is now used almost exclusively in the UK and Ireland, as a popular – if informal – way of expressing a person’s weight. The stone has not been officially recognised as a unit of weight in the UK since 1985.


The stone is a unit of weight in the imperial system used informally in the UK and Ireland, almost exclusively as a measure of body weight. Although sanctioned by the EU for use as a supplementary unit it is essentially obsolete outside the UK and Ireland.


A stone is a unit of weight equal to 14 pounds averdupois (or international lbs). By turn, this makes a stone equivalent to 6.35029kg.


The name ‘stone’ derives from the practice of using stones as weights, a common practice worldwide for two millennia or more.

The actual unit of the stone was commonly used as a measure of weight for trade purposes across Europe until the 19th century when most countries adopted the metric system, however, the actual weight of the stone varied from country to country, region to region, and even depending on what was being weighed or traded.

In 1389 in England a stone of wool was defined as weighing fourteen pounds, and although a stone of other materials could weigh significantly more or less (in pounds), the stone in general usage became accepted as weighing equal to 14 lbs.

Common references:

  • A 5ft 8in (173cm) tall woman of average build would be expected to weigh between eight and twelve stone.
  • A 6ft 0in (183cm) tall man of average build would normally weigh between ten and thirteen stone.


  • 2 stone = 1 quarter
  • 8 stone = 1 hundredweight
  • 160 stone = 1 long ton
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