The pint (/ˈpnt/, listen ; symbol pt,[1][2] sometimes abbreviated as p[3]) is a unit of volume or capacity in both the imperial and United States customary measurement systems. In both of those systems it is traditionally one eighth of a gallon. The British imperial pint is about 20% larger than the American pint because the two systems are defined differently. Almost all other countries have standardized on the metric system, so although some of them still also have traditional units called pints (such as for beverages), the volume varies by regional custom.

A full pint glass. The fill line indicates a half pint.
General information
Unit ofvolume
Conversions (imperial)
1 imp pt in ...... is equal to ...
   SI derived unit   568.26125 mL
Conversions (US)
1 US pt in ...... is equal to ...
   SI derived unit   473.176473 mL (liquid)
   SI derived unit   550.610471 mL (dry)

The imperial pint (≈568 mL) is used in the United Kingdom and Ireland and to a limited extent in Commonwealth nations. In the United States, two kinds of pint are used: a liquid pint (≈473 mL) and a less-common dry pint (≈551 mL). Other former British colonies, such as Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, converted to the metric system in the 1960s and 1970s; so while the term pint may still be in common use in these countries, it may no longer refer to the British imperial pint once used throughout the British Empire.

Since the majority of countries in the world no longer use American or British imperial units, and most are non-English speaking, a "pint of beer" served in a tavern outside the United Kingdom and the United States may be measured by other standards. In Commonwealth countries it may be a British imperial pint of 568 mL, in countries serving large numbers of American tourists it might be a US liquid pint of 473 mL, in many metric countries it is a half-litre of 500 mL, in some places it is another measure reflecting national and local laws and customs.[4]


Pint comes from the Old French word pinte and perhaps ultimately from Vulgar Latin pincta meaning "painted", for marks painted on the side of a container to show capacity.[5] It is linguistically related, though greatly diverging in meaning, to Pinto – an Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese name for a person with a speckled or dark complexion, often used as a surname in these languages.


Imperial pint

The imperial pint is equal to one eighth of an imperial gallon.
Imperial pint cans (568 mL) commonly found in British supermarkets
1 imperial pint  =  18imperial gallon
=  12imperial quart
=  4imperial gills
=  20imperial fluid ounces
=  568.26125millilitres (exactly)[lower-alpha 1][6]
  34.677429099cubic inches[lower-alpha 2]
  1.2009499255US liquid pints
  1.0320567435US dry pints
  19.21519881US fluid ounces
  the volume of 20 oz (567 g) of water at 62 °F (16.7 °C)

US liquid pint

In the United States, the liquid pint is legally defined as one eighth of a liquid gallon of precisely 231 cubic inches.

1 US liquid pint  =  18US liquid gallon
=  12US liquid quart
=  2US cups
=  4US fluid gills
=  16US fluid ounces
=  32US tablespoons
=  96US teaspoons
=  128US fluid drams
=  28.875cubic inches (exactly)[lower-alpha 2]
=  473.176473millilitres (exactly)[lower-alpha 3]
  0.83267418463imperial pints
  0.85936700738US dry pints
  16.65348369imperial fluid ounces
  the volume of 1.041 lb (472 g) of water at 62 °F (16.7 °C)

US dry pint

In the United States, the dry pint is one sixty-fourth of a bushel.

1 US dry pint = 0.015625 US bushels
= 0.0625 US pecks
= 0.125 US dry gallons
= 0.5 US dry quarts
= 33.6003125 cubic inches
= 550.6104713575 millilitres[lower-alpha 3]
0.96893897192092 imperial pints
1.1636471861472 US pints

Other pints

Blueberries labelled in English (1 US DRY PINT) and French (1 CHOPINE SÈCHE US 551 mL) for sale in the US and Canada
Different versions of the pint
Type Definition Equals Comment
Flemish pintje 250 mL
India 330 mL 330 mL 'Pint bottle' capacity.
South Australian pint 425 mL 425 mL Known in the rest of Australia as a schooner
US liquid pint 16 US fl oz  473 mL Used in the United States.
US dry pint 18.6 US fl oz  551 mL Less common.
Imperial pint 20 imp fl oz  568 mL Used in the UK and Ireland.
Australian pint 570 mL 570 mL Based on the imperial pint rounded to a metric value.
Royal pint or pinte du roi 48 French cubic inches  952 mL Varied by region from 0.95 to over 2 litres.
Canadian pinte de bière Imperial quart  1136 mL
Scottish pint or joug (obsolete) 2 pints and 19.69 imp fl oz  1696 mL

The United States dry pint is equal to one eighth of a United States dry gallon. It is used in the United States, but is not as common as the liquid pint.

A now-obsolete unit of measurement in Scotland, known as the Scottish pint, or joug, is equal to 1696 mL (2 pints 19.69 imp fl oz). It remained in use until the 19th century, surviving significantly longer than most of the old Scottish measurements.

The word pint is one of numerous false friends between English and French. They are not the same unit although they have the same linguistic origin. The French word pinte is etymologically related, but historically described a larger unit. The Royal pint (pinte du roi) was 48 French cubic inches (952.1 mL),[7] but regional pints varied in size depending on locality and on commodity (usually wine or olive oil) varying from 0.95 L to over 2 L.[7]

In Canada, the Weights and Measures Act (R.S. 1985) defines a pint in English as one eighth of a gallon, but defines a pinte in French as one quarter of a gallon.[8] Thus, if "a pint of beer" is ordered in English, servers are legally required to serve an imperial pint (568 mL) of beer,[9] but if "une pinte de bière" is ordered in French, it is legally required to serve an imperial quart (une pinte), which is 1136 mL, or twice as much.[10] To order an imperial pint when speaking French in Canada, one must instead order une chopine de bière.[11]

In Flanders, the word pintje, meaning 'little pint', refers only to a 250 mL glass of lager. Some West- and East-Flemish dialects use it as a word for beaker. The equivalent word in German, Pintchen, refers to a glass of a third of a litre in Cologne and the Rhineland.

In South Australia, ordering "a pint of beer" results in 425 mL (15 fl oz) being served. Customers must specifically request "an Imperial pint of beer" to get 570 mL (20 fl oz). Australians from other states often contest the size of their beers in Adelaide.[12]


One US liquid pint of water weighs 1.04318 pounds (16.6909 oz), which gives rise to a popular saying: "A pint's a pound, the world around".[13]

However, the statement does not hold around the world because the British imperial pint, which was also the standard measure in Australia, India, Malaya, New Zealand, South Africa and other former British colonies, weighs 1.2528 pounds (20.0448 oz), giving rise to the origin of a popular saying used in Commonwealth countries: "a pint of pure water weighs a pound and a quarter".[14]


The pint is traditionally one eighth of a gallon. In the Latin of the apothecaries' system, the symbol O (octavius or octarius; plural octavii or octarii – reflecting the "eighth" concept in its octa- syllable) was used for the pint.[15] Because of the variety of definitions of a gallon, there have been equally many versions of the pint.

Britain's North American colonies adopted the British wine gallon, defined in 1707 as 231 cubic inches exactly (3 in × 7 in × 11 in) as their basic liquid measure, from which the US wet pint is derived; and the British corn gallon (18 of a standard "Winchester" bushel of corn, or 268.8 cubic inches) as its dry measure, from which the US dry pint is derived.

In 1824, the British parliament replaced all the various gallons with a new imperial gallon based on ten pounds of distilled water at 62 °F (16.667 °C) (277.42 cubic inches), from which the current UK pint is derived.

The various Canadian provinces continued to use the Queen Anne Winchester wine gallon as a basis for their pint until 1873, well after Britain adopted the imperial system in 1824. This made the Canadian pint compatible with the American pint, but after 1824 it was incompatible with the British pint. The traditional French pinte used in Lower Canada (Quebec) was twice the size of the traditional English "pint" used in Upper Canada (Ontario). After four of the British provinces united in the Canadian Confederation in 1867, Canada legally adopted the British imperial system of measure in 1873, making Canadian liquid units incompatible with American ones from that year forward.[16] In 1873, the French Canadian pinte was defined as being one imperial quart or two imperial pints, while the imperial pint was legally called a chopine in French Canada. Canadian imperial units of liquid measure remain incompatible with American traditional units to this day, and although the Canadian pint, quart, and gallon are still legal units of measure in Canada, they are still 20% larger than the American ones.

Historically, units called a pint (or the equivalent in the local language) were used across much of Europe, with values varying between countries from less than half a litre to over one litre. Within continental Europe, these pints were replaced with liquid measures based on the metric system during the 19th century. The term is still in limited use in parts of France, where une pinte means an imperial quart, which is 2 imperial pints, whereas a pint is une chopine—and Central Europe, notably some areas of Germany[17] and Switzerland, where ein Schoppen is colloquially used for roughly half a litre. In Spanish holiday resorts frequented by British tourists, 'pint' is often taken to mean a beer glass (especially a dimple mug). Half-pint 285 mL, and pint mugs , 570 mL, may therefore be referred to as media jarra ('half jar/jug') and jarra (grande) ('large jar/jug').

Effects of metrication

Pints are commonly used for the sale of milk in the United Kingdom. The label gives both the metric and the imperial volume.

In the British and Irish metrication processes, the pint was replaced by metric units as the legally defined primary unit of measure for trading by volume or capacity, except for the sale of draught beer and cider, and milk in returnable containers.[18][19] As a supplementary unit, the pint can still be used in those countries in all circumstances. UK legislation mandates that draught beer and cider must be sold in a third of a pint, two thirds of a pint or multiples of half a pint, which must be served in stamped, measured glasses or from government-stamped meters. Milk, in returnable containers may come in pints without the metric equivalent stated. However all other goods apart from the aforementioned exceptions must be sold or labelled in metric units. Milk in plastic containers mostly comes multiples of 1 pint sizes, but are required to display the metric equivalent on packaging.[20] Filtered milk, and UHT Milk sold in the UK is commonly sold in multiples of 1 litre bottles or containers. [21] Recipes published in the UK and Ireland would have given ingredient quantities in imperial, where the pint is used as a unit for larger liquid quantities, as well as the metric measure - though recipes written now are more likely to use metric units.[22][23]

In Australia and New Zealand, a subtle change was made to 1 pint milk bottles during the conversion from imperial to metric in the 1970s. The height and diameter of the milk bottle remained unchanged, so that existing equipment for handling and storing the bottles was unaffected, but the shape was adjusted to increase the capacity from 568 mL to 600 mL—a conveniently rounded metric measure. Such milk bottles are no longer officially referred to as pints. However, the "pint glass" in pubs in Australia remains closer to the standard imperial pint, at 570 mL. It holds about 500 mL of beer and about 70 mL of froth, except in South Australia, where a pint is served in a 425 mL glass and a 570 mL glass is called an "imperial pint". In New Zealand, there is no longer any legal requirement for beer to be served in standard measures: in pubs, the largest size of glass, which is referred to as a pint, varies, but usually contains 425 mL.[24]

After metrication in Canada, milk and other liquids in pre-packaged containers came in metric sizes so conversion issues could no longer arise. Draft beer in Canada, when advertised as a "pint", is legally required to be an imperial pint (568 mL).[25][26][27] With the allowed margin of error of 0.5 fluid ounces, a "pint" that is less than 554 mL of beer is an offence, though this regulation is often violated and rarely enforced.[28] To avoid legal issues, many drinking establishments are moving away from using the term "pint" and are selling "glasses" or "sleeves" of beer, neither of which have a legal definition.[29]

A 375 mL bottle of liquor in the US and the Canadian maritime provinces is sometimes referred to as a "pint" and a 200 mL bottle is called a "half-pint", harking back to the days when liquor came in US pints, fifths, quarts, and half-gallons.[30] Liquor in the US has been sold in metric-sized bottles since 1980 although beer is still sold in US traditional units.[31]

In France, a standard 250 mL measure of beer is known as un demi ("a half"), originally meaning a half-pint.


  1. After the 1985 (UK), c. 1964 (Canada), redefinition of the imperial gallon
  2. Fifty imperial pints, or sixty US liquid pints, are both very close to one cubic foot
  3. After the 1964 redefinition of the litre and the 1959 redefinition of the inch


  1. IEEE SA - 260.1-2004 - IEEE Standard Letter Symbols for Units of Measurement 1 Pint is 1 cup (SI Units, Customary Inch-Pound Units, and Certain Other Units). IEEE. 2010. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  2. BS 350:Part 1:1974 Conversion factors and tables - Part 1. Basis of tables Conversion factors. British Standards Institution. 1974. pp. 10–11.
  3. "Definition of P". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. American Journal of Physics, v.67(1), 1999-Jan, p.13-16, Romer,R.H.; Editorial: Units: SI only, or multi-cultural diversity?
  5. "Pint". 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  6. Text of the Units of Measurement Regulations 1995 (Schedule) as originally enacted or made within the United Kingdom, from
  7. Palaiseau, JFG (October 1816). Métrologie universelle, ancienne et moderne: ou rapport des poids et mesures des empires, royaumes, duchés et principautés des quatre parties du monde. Bordeaux. p. 8. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  8. "Weights and Measures Act (R.S. 1985)" (PDF).
  9. "Pints of draft beer". Measurement Canada. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  10. The site Measurement Canada contains a wealth of documentation on official Canadian measurements. The French language version of the site is Mesures Canada.
  11. "Chopines de bière pression". Mesures Canada. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  12. Keane, Daniel (September 8, 2017). "Getting to the bottom of the pint: the bitter problem of Adelaide's beer glasses". ABC News. Adelaide. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  13. "A Pint's a Pound the World Around". Government Book Talk (blog). U.S. Government Publishing Office. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  14. Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. C. Knight. 1843. pp. 200.
  15. British Pharmacopoeia, 1864. 1916. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  16. Ross, Lester A. (1983), Archeological Metrology: English, French, American and Canadian systems of Weights and Measures for North American Historical Archeology (PDF), Government of Canada, retrieved 10 November 2014
  17. Duden, February 28, 2016.
  18. Weights and measures, Business Link (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), archived from the original on 23 August 2012, retrieved 12 November 2011
  19. "Weights and Measures". British Beer and Pub Association. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  20. "Weights and Measures Act 1985".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. "Cravendale Semi skimmed Milk 2l".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. The Baking Pocket Bible, Amy Lane, “Most UK recipes are now written in metric units but some recipes passed down through families or in older recipe books may be written using imperial measurements”.
  23. Skills in Food Technology, Jenny Ridgwell, “If you are using old recipe books to help with research for food ideas, you will find that the ingredients are given in Imperial measures.”
  24. "Is a pint really a pint in Wellington?, 6 Sept 2012, The Dominion
  25. Weights and Measures Act, Government of Canada, 1985, retrieved November 8, 2014
  26. "Fairness at the Pumps Act". Industry Canada. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  27. Government of Canada, Innovation. "Units of measurement used to sell draft beer". Retrieved 2022-11-28.
  28. "We Demand a Full Pint". Toronto Star. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  29. More than half of Vancouver bars aren't pouring real pints, National Post, July 18, 2014, retrieved November 2, 2014
  30. Elizabeth E. Epstein, Barbara S. McCrady (2009). Overcoming Alcohol Use Problems: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Program. Oxford University Press. p. 7.
  31. US CFR Title 27, Part 5, Subpart E, Section 5.47a
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