The Abbreviation for Milliliter: What Is It and How Is It Used?

If you’re looking for the correct definition and abbreviation for the word milliliter, you’ve come to the right place! In our short and sweet guide, we’ll review the correct abbreviation for this word, its definitions, its history and etymology, and much more.

Let’s start with the main question—what’s the abbreviation for milliliter?

There is only one abbreviation for the word milliliter:

  •     ml.


This abbreviation can also be written with any variation of capitalization and punctuation: ML, ml, ML., mL, mL., and Ml. However, the most common way to abbreviate the word millimeter is ml. It is also a lot easier to read.

This abbreviation should not be confused with mil., which is the abbreviation for a millimeter or one-thousandth of an inch. It should also not be confused with M which is the Roman numeral for one thousand.

Across different measurements, the same SI prefixes are used. For instance, kilograms (kg) and kilometers (km) both use a lowercase k to signify kilo. Milli is another common prefix for SI units, so you’ll see mg, mm, and ml used to indicate milligrams, millimeters, and milliliters. The abbreviation mc is used to represent micro, for example, mcg for micrograms.

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What Does Milliliter Mean? lists the following as the simplest definitions for the word milliliter:

Milliliter [ mil-uh-lee-ter


●      a unit of capacity equal to one-thousandth of a liter, and equivalent to 0.033815 fluid ounce, or 0.061025 cubic inch.

●      a unit of volume equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a liter, 1 cubic centimeter, or about 15 minims.

Synonyms for Milliliter

●      cc

●      millilitre

●      cubic centimetre

●      cl

●      centiliter

●      cubic centimeter

●      metric capacity unit

●      centilitre

●      cubic millimeter

●      mil

●      cubic millimetre

●      ml

The History of the Word

The word milliliter, also commonly referred to as millilitre, came into English in the early 1800’s from the French word millilitre, which was simply a combination of milli- and -liter. Mille meant “one thousandth” in Latin, and litra meant “one pound.” 

Since 1799, liters have been used as units of measurement within the metric system, and they are still used as a base unit to this day. From this base unit, other metric units, like millimeters, are derived. Outside the United States, many countries in the rest of the world use the International System of Units and the metric system originally developed by the French.

When to Use the Abbreviation

The abbreviation ml. should be used wherever brevity and extra space are needed. This can include recipes, formulas, academic papers, notes, edits, etc. When it comes to academic and research papers, this abbreviation is commonly accepted in most scenarios and contexts. However, for research papers or formal writing that is not scientific in nature, it would be wise to include the full word with the abbreviation in parentheses the first time the word is used. 

The word milliliter should be used in documents and written works that employ the metric system. For readers in the United States, fluid ounces (fl oz) may be used instead. A milliliters’ volume is equal to 0.033814 fluid ounces. For situations where readers are likely to be international, the author may choose to include both measurement forms.

For example, a product that is sold internationally may have a label on it that says, “17 fl oz / 503 ml.” By putting an oz / ml conversion on the label,  the manufacturer ensures that the description is relevant to a global audience.

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

  1. Add 15 ml of the solution, then heat the mixture to 40 degrees celsius.
  2. “I’m confused about the abbreviation for milliliter,” said Joan. “Is it a lowercase l or an uppercase L?” “Well,” said Bobby, “I don’t think it matters much, but most people tend to use the lowercase l from what I’ve seen.”
  3. A milligram refers to one-thousandth of a gram. It should not be confused with a milliliter, which is one-thousandth of a liter, nor should it be confused with milligram, which is one-thousandth of a gram.
  4. Eight fluid ounces (fl. oz.) can be converted to 236.6 milliliters (ml.).
  5. I administered the woman’s medication via a bag and an intravenous drip. I made sure to do it slowly at about fifteen seconds per milliliter. This was a very experimental medication, and overloading her system too quickly could be detrimental to her health.
  6. The normal range for vitamin D in blood is a concentration of 30 to 74 nanograms per milliliter. 
  7. When the initial infection takes place, the amount of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in cells can reach nearly three or four million particles per milliliter of blood. This is one of the many reasons HIV/AIDS is so dangerous—it is extremely fast-growing.
  8. The concentration of iodine makes it possible to calculate the dosage, as long as the administrator knows the number of drops per milliliter.