What is an Acre? - Definition & Measurement

Instructor: Mark Boster
When someone wants to build a football stadium, a basketball court, or even a place to keep horses, they need to know how many acres they have. So what is an acre? Let's find out in this lesson!

A Horse Needs Land!

Sally wanted a horse! So, she asked her father if they could get one. He was not sure if they could have one. This is because he didn't know how much land was needed in order to keep a horse happy and healthy. Sally's sister wanted a tennis or basketball court. Her brother wanted a football field. I wonder who can get what they want?

The Old Definition of an Acre

An acre is usually used when talking about farmland or other large areas of land. Do you know the original meaning of an acre? Well, a long time ago, an acre was the amount of land a pair of oxen could plow in a day. We can say that is the old definition of acre. However, the amount of a land a pair of oxen could plow in a day is not always the same. It could change, depending on quite a few reasons: the time of year, how fast the oxen were going, the condition of the fields and how often the person plowing with the oxen ate, rested, and things like that! Wow! There are a lot of reasons! So, someone finally decided to come up with another meaning for the word acre. Let's now talk about the new definition!

The New Definition of an Acre

Today, an acre is an area of land that is 43,560 square feet! This is equal to 4,480 square yards. Wow! It is used to measure farmland, forests, cities, and other large areas. For example, the White House, where the President of the United States lives, is on 18 acres of land. Central Park in New York City sits on 843 acres of land, and the capitol building in Ohio sits on 10 acres of land. Now this is all probably not telling you too much. So, let's break it down.

How Big is an Acre?

90% of a Football Field

Look at an American professional football field, just the field, not the end zones! It is a little bigger than an acre. In fact, if you begin on one goal line and look ninety yards to the other ten-yard line, you are looking at one acre.


Football Field
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16 Tennis Courts

Keeping with the sports theme, it would take sixteen tennis courts to fill an acre.


Tennis Courts
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