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From Middle English avoir de pois, aver de peis, haburdy poyse, haburdepays, haburdepeyse, from Old French aveir + de + peis (asset of weight), influenced by Middle French avoir + du + pois; compare French poids (weight).



avoirdupois (uncountable)

  1. (historical) The official system of weights used in the UK between 1856 and 1963. It had been the customary system in London since 1300.
  2. (historical) The official system of weights used in the USA between 1866 and 1959.
  3. Weight; heaviness (commonly with humorous intent).
    • 1915, Jack London, The Little Lady of the Big House[1]:
      It seems humanly reasonable that the three of us can woman-handle a mere man of your elderly and insulting avoirdupois.
    • 2012, Frank Lean, Boiling Point[2]:
      The detective sergeant, who was called Munro, more than made up for Cullen's advance in the avoirdupois department. Lean to the point of emaciation, Munro was also a paragon of contemporary fashion. He was clad in a hideous brown suit ...

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