In modern usage, metric is used almost exclusively in commercial transactions. These units are mostly historical, although they are still used in some limited contexts and in Maltese idioms and set phrases. Many of these terms are directly related to Arabic units and some to Sicilian units. The Weights and Measures Ordinance of 1921 established uniformity in the conversion of such weights and measures. All these measures were defined as simple multiples of the Imperial units then in use in Britain.
Length units were typically used for measuring goods and building sizes. Distances were traditionally measured in terms of travel time, which explains the lack of large-scale units.
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
pulzier | pulzieri | 1⁄12 | ~2.183 cm | ~0.8594 in | The Maltese inch. Exactly 55⁄64 imperial inches. |
fitel | iftla | 1⁄2 | ~13.1 cm | ~5.156 in | The Maltese hand-span. This unit is not in the 1921 act. |
xiber / palmo | xbar / palmi | 1 | ~26.19 cm | ~10.31 in | The Maltese foot. Exactly 10 +5⁄16 imperial inches. |
qasba / Canna Maltese | qasab, qasbiet / Canne Maltesi | 8 | ~2.096 m | ~2.292 yd | This is exactly 82+1⁄2 inches, or 6 ft 10+1⁄2 in. It corresponds to the fathom, but was used in both land and sea contexts. |
In 1921, these units were redefined with respect to the British Imperial standard. These values reflect this change.
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
kejla | kejliet | 1⁄60 | ~18.74 m^{2} | ~22.41 sq yd | |
siegħ | sigħan | 1⁄6 | ~187.4 m^{2} | ~224.1 sq yd | |
tomna | tomniet, or tmien |
1 | ~1,124 m^{2} | ~1344 sq yd | exactly 5⁄18 acre, or 12,100 square feet. This unit is also exactly 256 qasba kwadru. Sometimes called a tumolo in English texts. Also called Tumoli with modern real estate agents Cf. dunam. |
wejba | wejbiet | 4 | ~4497 m^{2} | ~1.111 acres | exactly 1+1⁄9 acres. |
modd | mdied | 16 | ~1.799 ha | ~4.444 acres | exactly 4+4⁄9 acres |
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
pulzier kwadru | pulzieri kwadri | 1⁄144 | ~4.765 cm^{2} | ~0.7385 sq in | |
fitel kwadru | iftla kwadri | 1⁄4 | ~171.5 cm^{2} | ~26.59 sq in | |
xiber kwadru | xbar kwadri | 1 | ~686.1 cm^{2} | ~106.3 sq in | |
qasba kwadra | qasab kwadri, or qasbiet kwadri |
64 | ~4.391 m^{2} | ~5.252 sq yd | an area 1 qasba by 1 qasba |
These units were all (except for the cubic units) defined in 1921 relative to the British Imperial gallon, which was defined in the 1824 act. This is equal to 10 pounds of water at a specified temperature and air pressure. This (~4.54609031 litres) is slightly larger than the modern definition (exactly 4.54609 litres).
None of the units from this group are mentioned in TY Maltese.
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
pinta | pinet | 1⁄8 | ~142.1 ml | 1⁄4 pt | |
terz | terzi | 1⁄4 | ~284.1 ml | 1⁄2 pt | 'third' |
nofs | infas | 1⁄2 | ~568.3 ml | 1 pt | 'half' |
kartoċċ | krateċ | 1 | ~1.137 litres | 2 pt | |
kwarta | kwarti | 4+3⁄4 | ~5.398 L | 9+1⁄2 pt | 'quarter' |
ġarra | ġarar | 9+1⁄2 | ~10.8 L | 2+3⁄8 gal | |
barmil | bramel | 38 | ~43.19 L | 9+1⁄2 gal | 'barrel' |
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
kwartin | kwartini | 1⁄40 | ~31.96 ml | 1+1⁄8 fl oz | 'quarter'. Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
kejla | kejliet | 1⁄10 | ~127.9 ml | 4+1⁄2 fl oz | 'measure' Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
terz | terzi | 1⁄4 | ~319.6 ml | 11+1⁄4 fl oz | 'third' |
nofs | infas | 1⁄2 | ~639.3 ml | 22+1⁄2 fl oz, or 1+1⁄8 pints |
'half' |
kartoċċ | krateċ | 1 | ~1.279 litres | 2+1⁄4 pt | |
kwarta | kwarti | 4 | ~5.114 L | 9 pt, or 1+1⁄8 gal |
'quarter' |
qafiż | qofża | 16 | ~20.46 L | 4+1⁄2 gal | Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
None of these units are mentioned in TY Maltese. Note that there are two conflicting values for the siegħ (1⁄10 and 1⁄6 tomna, respectively).
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
lumin | lumini | 1⁄600 | ~30.31 ml | ~1.849 cu in | |
kejla | kejliet | 1⁄60 | ~303.1 ml | ~18.49 cu in | also called a mondell |
siegħ | sigħan | 1⁄10 | ~1.818 L | ~111 cu in | This is the value listed for the siegħ by Aquilina. The 1921 Act has a different value. This amount is exactly 3+1⁄5 imperial pints. |
għabara | 1⁄6 | ~3.031 L | ~184.9 cu in, or ~0.107 cu ft |
Referenced in Aquilina only. The 1921 Act uses this value for the siegħ, and does not mention the għabara by name. | |
tomna | tmien, or tomniet |
1 | ~18.18 L | ~0.6422 cu ft | Sometimes called the tumolo in English texts. This is exactly 4 imperial gallons. |
modd | mdied | 16 | ~290.9 L | ~10.27 cu ft, or ~0.3805 cu yd |
'weigh'. An alternate name given by Aquilina is the salma. This is exactly 64 imperial gallons. |
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
pulzier kubu | pulzieri kubi | 1⁄1728 | ~10.4 ml | ~0.6347 cu in | |
fitel kubu | iftla kubi | 1⁄8 | ~2.246 L | ~137.1 cu in | |
xiber kubu | xbar kubi | 1 | ~17.97 L | ~1097 cu in | |
qasba kubu | qasab kubi, or qasbiet kubi |
512 | ~9.202 kl | ~12.04 cu yd | a volume 1 qasba by 1 qasba by 1 qasba |
All the Maltese mass units were redefined relative to the British Imperial ton in 1921. Before this, the units were presumably based on an Arabic standard. All equivalent measures listed in pounds below are exact values.
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Metric value |
Imperial value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|---|---|
ottav | ottavi | 1⁄8 uqija | ~3.307 g | 7⁄60 oz | 'eighth'. Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
kwart | kwarti | 1⁄4 uqija | ~6.615 g | 7⁄30 oz | 'quarter'. Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
uqija | ewieq | 1⁄30 | ~26.46 g | 14⁄15 oz | The Maltese ounce. |
kwart | kwarti | 1⁄4 | ~198.4 g | 7 oz | 'quarter'. Referenced in Aquilina only. |
ratal | irtal | 1 | ~793.8 g | 28 oz, or 1+3⁄4 lb |
Sometimes called a rotola in English texts. |
qsima | qsimiet | 1+1⁄4 | ~992.2 g | 35 oz, or 2+3⁄16 lb |
Referenced in Aquilina only. |
wiżna | wiżniet | 5 | ~3.969 kg | 8+3⁄4 lb | Referenced in Aquilina and TY Maltese. Not mentioned in 1921 Act. |
qantar | qnatar | 100 | ~79.38 kg | 175 lb | |
peżata | 300 | ~238.1 kg | 525 lb | Referenced in 1921 Act only. |
Main article: Maltese scudo |
This system was used during the rule of the Knights of St. John in Malta. Subsequent currencies in use were sterling and the Maltese pound. Malta has since adopted the euro.
Unit | Plural | Relative value |
Notes |
---|---|---|---|
grano | grani | 1 | |
taro | tari | 20 | |
scudo | scudi | 240 |