The following is a brief description of the metric system along with its goals and short history.

  1. The metric system is a decimalized system of measurement based on the meter and the gram.
  2. It exists in several variations, with different choices of base units, though these do not affect its day-to-day use.
  3. Over the last two centuries, different variants have been considered the metric system.
  4. Since the 1960s the International System of Units (SI) ("Système International d'Unités" in French, hence "SI") is the internationally recognized standard metric system.
  5. Metric units of mass, length, and electricity are widely used around the world for both everyday and scientific purposes. Time (generally) is not.
  6. One goal of the metric system is to have a single unit for any physical quantity.
  7. All lengths and distances, for example, are measured in meters, or thousandths of a metre (millimetres), or thousands of meters (kilometres), and so on.
  8. There is no profusion of different units with different conversion factors, such as inches, feet, yards, fathoms, rods, chains, furlongs, miles, nautical miles, leagues, etc.
  9. Multiples and submultiples are related to the fundamental unit by factors of powers of ten, so that one can convert by simply moving the decimal place: 1.234 meters is 1234 millimeters, 0.001234 kilometers, etc.
  10. The use of fractions, such as 2/5 of a meter, is not prohibited, but uncommon.
  11. The original metric system was intended to be used with the units of time of the French Republican Calendar, but these fell into disuse along with the calendar.
  12. The metric system was first introduced in late 18th century France by the chemist Lavoisier to replace the disparate systems of measures then in use with a unified, natural and universal system.
  13. In the early metric system there were several fundamental or base units, the grad or grade for angles, the meter for length, the gram for mass and the liter for capacity.