What is a Milliliter? - Definition & Conversion

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

A milliliter is a unit of liquid volume or capacity in the metric system. Explore the metric system and the definition of a milliliter, and learn how to convert liters to milliliters and milliliters to liters. Updated: 12/21/2021

What Is a Milliliter?

Imagine playing half of a soccer game without a break. At halftime, you'd by very thirsty. Would you rather drink a milliliter of water or a liter of water? A milliliter would not even be enough water to fill up a small spoon - you'd still be very thirsty! A milliliter is a unit used to measure capacity. It's equal to one-thousandth of a liter. In other words, 1,000 milliliters could fit inside a one-liter container.

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  • 0:04 What Is a Milliliter?
  • 0:28 The Metric System
  • 1:25 Liters to Milliliters
  • 2:11 Milliliters to Liters
  • 2:36 Lesson Summary
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The Metric System

A milliliter is a measurement used in the metric system. The metric system is a system of measurement that uses the liter as the basis for measuring capacity. Capacity is the amount of liquid a container can hold. The metric system is used in many countries, but in the United States, we often measure capacity in gallons and cups. One gallon is equal to about 3.78 liters. One cup is equal to about 237 milliliters.

You can go to your refrigerator to see how liters and milliliters are used to measure the amount of liquid inside a drink container. Big drinks, like water jugs and soda bottles, are usually packaged in liters or gallons. Smaller drinks, like water bottles or soda cans, are packaged in milliliters or ounces. Look for the metric abbreviations on the outside of the package the next time you get a drink. Liters are abbreviated with a lower-case or upper-case letter L. Milliliters are abbreviated with the letters ml or mL.

Liters to Milliliters

Do you remember that one liter contains 1,000 milliliters? By recalling that fact, you can convert liters into milliliters. Let's see how that works.

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