Dear all members,
I have a question about the measuring unit, pound, which is abbreviated as 'lb', but in the word 'p-o-u-n-d' there is no word 'l' or 'b'. Why do the English choose 'lb' to stand for 'pound'? Thank you very much indeed!
The "lb" is actually an abbreviation of the Latin "libra": here's one linguist's explanation
If I’m to be strictly accurate in my reply (which you may construe as being pedantic if you wish, but there’s a serious point here) lbs isn’t an abbreviation of “pounds”. It’s shorthand for “pounds weight” but isn’t an abbreviation of the word pounds.
The form lb is actually an abbreviation of the Latin word libra, which could mean a pound, itself a shortened form of the full expression, libra pondo, “pound weight”. The second word of this phrase, by the way, is the origin of the English pound.
The Latin name is also why the pound (as in the currency) is written £. The symbol is really a fancy version of the upper-case <L>.
In Jane Austen's time, a lower-case <l>, and italicised in print <l> was used as here in a letter:
Their sea Plan is now fixed, and a good House in Nelson's Crescent is engaged for them, from the 1st of July for 2 months, at 80 guineas. The expense seems to be a dreadful burthen upon all their minds; but as it will only cause Mr. T.'s putting a 100l. instead of a 1,000l. in the stocks, I cannot pity them.