An "Imperial pint" (also just called "pint" in many parts of the world) is 20 fluid ounces.

You are watching: Pints a pound the world around

Have you ever heard the saying, "A pint is a pound the world around?" It"s not really true.In 2009, I published a blog post that started with that line. It was about an email I got from Ben & Jerry"s describing how one of its "competitors" (Hagen Daz) had downsized their ice cream pints from 16 ounces to 14 ounces.That post, and the comments that followed, are reprinted in full below because I do not want to sweep under the rug anything anyone said. It would not be fair to the commenters, and it was an insightful conversation.I essentially said that the saying "A pint is a pound the world around" is misleading and "wrong." I hold by that statement, although I did get a few points wrong, or at least not right enough. I"ll explain in a moment.
An "American pint" (also just called "pint" in the U.S.) is 16 fluid ounces.
The real take-away for me was this: A "pint" is not universal. It"s location dependent.First, there is the confusing difference between ounces and fluid ounces. Ounces measure weight (mass) and fluid ounces measure volume. This distinction can become confusing when converting units of measure, and it is the primary distinction that I did not make clearly or get right in the original post.Second, what many Americans miss is that we say a pint is 16 ounces, but the English say a pint is 20 ounces. In America, we distinguish between the two by calling the English pint an "Imperial pint."Rest assured, the English just call it a pint. Order a pint in any pub in the U.K., and you"ll get a 20-ounce beer. They don"t call it in an Imperial pint. It"s just a pint.
Baskets of "ground cherries" in Montreal.

See more: How Many Children Does Jim Harbaugh Have, Jim Harbaugh Ex

Then there are "punnets." I didn"t even talk about punnets in the original post. A punnet is a term used in the U.K., and it doesn"t have an exact unit of measure. It"s basically a small basket-ful. You know those cardboard containers that might hold cherry tomatoes or blackberries? Those are punnets. The actual size varies, but from my experience in markets, the American "basket" is typically smaller than the English "punnet." But very generally speaking, a punnet hold somewhere in the neighborhood of a pint... a dry pint, that is.Just to really confuse you, the picture shown here of baskets of ground cherries is from Canada.So what does the saying "A pint is a pound the world around" mean?I have not found any well documented information on where that saying originated (post a comment if you have a good source, please!), but I would guess it is American because it refers to the American "pint" of water (volume) weighing 16 ounces (mass). You could also read into the part about "the world around" being part and parcel of the American outlook, too, eh? (I"m American, but I do see that my countrymen assume that our nation is the center of the world.)There"s a second saying, though, that I"d have to guess is British in origin because it refers to the 20-ounce pint:"A pint of pure water weighs a pound and a quarter."If you would like to correct anything I"ve written here, I am happy to revisit this whole topic again, but please be kind in the comments. Writing with a nasty or condescending tone will not persuade me to listen to your argument. I am totally happy to recognize and call attention to the fact if I have made a mistake, but I will be much more likely to do so if you approach me in a kind manner. -Jill Duffy ORIGINAL POST AND COMMENTS