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

Have you ever started working on a recipe, only to find that you don’t know the abbreviation of ounce? Don’t worry—you’ve come to the right place. 

In our guide, we’re going to dive into the abbreviations for this unit of measure, learn what the word means in English, review the word’s history, see how it’s used in context, and much more. First, let’s look at those abbreviations.

The abbreviations for the word ounce are:

  •     oz.
  •     OZ
  •     Oz.


In the military, OZ is typically used. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses oz. In fact, you’ll typically see oz. used for miscellaneous topics, like recipes, formulas, headlines, etc.

Fluid ounces are very similar to regular ounces, only the former unit measures liquid mass, as opposed to dry mass. The abbreviations for fluid ounce include fl oz and fl. oz., but since these refer to a different unit, we’ll focus on those abbreviations elsewhere.

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What Does Ounce Mean? defines ounce as:

Ounce [ ouns ] noun

1. a unit of weight equal to 437.5 grains or 1/16 pound (28.35 grams) avoirdupois.

2. a unit of 480 grains, 1/12 pound (31.1 grams) troy or apothecaries’ weight.

3. a fluid ounce.

4. a small quantity or portion.

Synonyms for Ounce

●      shot

●      troy

●      of weight avoirdupois

●      uncia

The History of the Word

The word ounce, as a unit of weight, originated in the English language in the early fourteenth century. It comes from the Old French words once and unce, which are measures of weight or time. Those words are derived from the Latin uncia, which means “one-twelfth of a part,” and another Latin word, unus, which means “one.” These Latin words were adopted into Old English as ynce, which referred to one-twelfth of a pound in the troy system of weights (apothecary ounce), and one-sixteenth in avoirdupois (avoirdupois ounce). The abbreviation oz. comes from the old Italian word onza. In Middle English, ounce was also used as a measure of length (three inches) and time (around seven and a half seconds.) The Roman ounce also measured volume, area, weight, and length.

In apothecaries, the symbol ℥ was commonly used in place of oz to refer to the troy ounce.

When to Use This Abbreviation

Abbreviations for ounce are typically included in recipes, scientific studies, formulas, headlines for publications, and anywhere else that requires extra space for more information, especially in the United States where the metric system is less common. The abbreviation will typically be used to indicate a unit measure, and it will follow a number. You’ll also find the abbreviation for ounce on labels and in technical writing. 

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

“Elevation Beer Company Releases Oil Man Imperial Stout in 12 oz. Cans | For the first time in Elevation Beer Company history, the famed Oil Man Imperial Stout is available in cans.”

“The way of operating within that system, it makes sense to bring every profitable ounce of labor out of your workers.”

“The price of gold per ounce is currently valued at $1,480.25. ”

“According to the CDC, a single drink means:

  • 12 ounces (oz) of beer
  • 5 oz of wine
  • 8 oz of malt liquor
  • 1.5 oz of hard liquor”

—Medical News Today