What is a Pound? - Definition & Conversion

Instructor: Allison Petrovic

Allison has experience teaching high school and college mathematics and has a master's degree in mathematics education.

Think about the last time you ever used a scale to weigh something. The scale probably showed a number in pounds. We will go over pounds and ounces in this lesson!

Visiting the Doctor

Think about the last time you went to the doctor's office. As part of your visit, the doctor or nurse probably had you step onto a scale to see how much you weigh. By checking your weight, the doctor or nurse is measuring your mass in a unit called pounds. The scale shows a number, which tells them how much you weigh! Let's talk more about pounds!

Explanation of Pounds

Let's say your weight at the doctor's office was 50 pounds. What does that mean? A pound is a popular unit that is used to measure how much mass or matter something has in it. Maybe you remember learning about mass and matter in your science class!

Have you ever held a football? It weighs about one pound! I like to think that how many pounds something is tells us how heavy it is. A heavy object will weigh a lot of pounds because it has a lot of matter in it.

A football weighs about 1 pound.

For example, think about your living room couch. If you were to place a couch on a scale, it would weigh a lot of pounds! On the other hand, think about a newborn baby. He or she usually weighs only about 5 to 10 pounds! The abbreviation for pounds is 'lbs.' So we can say that most newborn babies weigh about 5 lbs. to 10 lbs. since they don't have a lot of matter or mass inside of them.

What About Ounces?

In addition to pounds, ounces are also used as units when weighing different objects. The doctor or nurse probably did not tell you your weight in ounces, because an ounce is a lot smaller than a pound. A slice of bread weighs about 1 ounce! Exactly 16 ounces is equal to 1 pound. We abbreviate an ounce using the abbreviation 'oz.' Using abbreviations, we can say that 16 oz. = 1 lb.

Ounces are usually used when weighing really small things to get a more exact measurement. Your parents may use ounces when cooking! A recipe may call for an ounce of salt or sugar!

A slice of bread weighs about 1 ounce.

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