Things You Didn't Know About the Metric System

Most of the world uses the metric system, and that's certainly the case in developed nations -- all except the United States. But even there, the metric system is gradually gaining ground.


In most of the world, the metric system reigns supreme. Officially known as Le Système International d'Unités, or the International System of Units, it's more simply known the world over by its abbreviated name, the SI. For the general populace in the United States and a couple of other countries, however, the SI is little practiced and largely ignored.

But many think that's a mistake, among them are those who have ordered and served on the various panels and commissions that have tried to promote metric use in the U.S. Those efforts went largely unheeded by the American public, and the metric system failed to become the dominant measurement system -- outside of a few professions. Because of this, there are many things about the metric system that remain unknown by the average American -- and a few that may even come as a surprise to those who mastered the metric system early in life and use it every day.