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A unit of weight (= roughly 500 grams)
我买了两斤苹果。I bought 1 kilogram of apples.
- 500 grams
pound (unit of weight)
我买了两斤香蕉。I bought 2 pounds of bananas.
Why is a 斤 roughly equal to 500 grams?
The 斤, also known as a catty, sometimes spelled kati, is a traditional Chinese unit of mass, used often to weigh food and other groceries and used across Asia.
Historically, the 斤 has weighed anywhere from 500 - 600 grams. Its actual weight depended on who you talked to and what method of subdivision was used by the particular region you were in.
In an attempt to standardize the weight of a 斤 and align it with the metric world, the market catty (市斤) was created in Mainland China and rounded down to 500 grams. This is why, now, in China, when you ask a 一 斤 of something, you'll get half a kilo (aka a pound) because it's assumed you want a market catty. A 公斤 (or "metric catty") has now also been standardized as a kilogram. In other countries in Asia, the weight has been rounded down to 600 grams.
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