The Abbreviation for Pounds: What Is It and How to Use It?

Are you looking for the abbreviation for pounds? Look no further; we’ll dig into everything about the word’s meaning, origin, and synonyms. We’ll break down the abbreviation of the word and provide examples where it’s used in a sentence. Keep reading!

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What Is the Abbreviation of Pounds?



The abbreviation of pounds depends on its respective meaning. 

Pound Weight

  • lb

Sterling Pound

  • £

The word pound, when used as a verb, does not have an abbreviation. 

In Latin and medieval Italian, a pound of mass was referred to as libra pondo or “a pound by weight,” where pondo is an Italian word meaning weight and measures. Because the English word is ultimately descended from the ancient Roman word libra, we get the abbreviation lb. 

Similarly, the pound sign is a letter L with a single line going through.

Technically, the abbreviation lb should never be written as lbs because the plural for libra is librae. Still, people regularly add an s to indicate that the pounds are plural.  

For example:

He weighs 120 lbs. 

What Does the Word Mean?

As a Noun

A pound is a unit of measurement.

For example:

  • He weighs 100 pounds.
  • The gym offers weights up to 150 lbs.
  • I need 2 pounds of sugar.

A pound measures the weight of something. It’s used as a United States customary unit and as part of the imperial system, as opposed to the metric system, which measures weight in grams. The pound is a unit of weight that comes from the ancient Roman unit of measure libra pondo. Libra is also the word for astrological sign, the seventh sign of the zodiac, in the English language.

The pound is equal to 0.45 kilograms, and is sometimes called the avoirdupois pound. On July 1, 1959, six nations, namely the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa, agreed to adopt the yard as a measurement for length. They adopted a pound as a measurement of weight. 

They agreed that a yard would be exactly 0.9144 of a meter, while a pound would be equivalent to 0.453 592 37 kilograms. 

According to the The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a pound is any of a number of units to measure weight and mass. The definition goes on to describe the pound as “a unit now in general use among English-speaking peoples equal to 16 avoirdupois ounces or 7000 grains or 0.4536 kilogram.”

The British pound, or pound sterling, is the official currency of the United Kingdom.

  • This ball costs £10.
  • The exchange rate between the pound sterling and the Italian lira is quite stable.
  • A pound of silver is equivalent to approximately sixteen ounces.

A pound could also refer to a dwelling or enclosure for animals or cars. 

For example:

You can adopt a stray dog from the pound.

As a Verb

Pound can also be used as a verb. According to Merriam-Webster, it means, “to reduce to powder or pulp by beating,” and “to strike heavily or repeatedly.”

For example:

  • The carpenter pounds nails into the wood to make furniture.
  • The waves pound repeatedly on the beach.
  • When baking, you’ll need to pound the dough.

The History of the Word

As a unit of mass, the pound dates back to ancient Rome and the libra (328.9 grams). The first British pound coin appeared in 1489, during the reign of Henry VII. As for the definition relating to an enclosure for animals, that meaning developed in the 14th century from the Old English word pundfald, meaning “penfold, pound.”

Synonyms for Pounds

  • avoirdupois
  • pint
  • troy
  • quid
  • pound sterling
  • smackers
  • nicker
  • hits
  • strike
  • batter
  • beat
  • kennel
  • run
  • pigpen
  • fence
  • live-box

Examples of the Word in Context

“He benched 551 pounds while weighing 218 pounds and competing in the 198- to  220-pound weight class. The previous world record was 534 pounds.”
—Fox News

“Pounds are often referred to as GBP (Great Britain Pounds) or sterling (short for pounds sterling). These are the official names for our currency because other countries also use pounds.”

“A nurse stole hundreds of pounds from dementia patients on her ward to spend on clothes.”
—Daily Mail

“If you do use a card on your holiday, shops, restaurants and cash machines will usually ask if you want to pay in pounds rather than the local currency. Always choose the latter. Tourists can lose up to 10% by paying in sterling rather than the domestic currency.”
—BBC News

“When embarking on larger projects such as wedding cakes, jam making, or winemaking you will find that instead of ounces or grams, you will see pounds or kilograms in your recipe.”

“The ideal place to thaw your turkey is in the fridge, which can take up to a week depending on the size of the bird. Here’s how long it takes a typical turkey to thaw in the fridge—4-12 pounds: 1 to 3 days, 12-16 pounds: 3 to 4 days,16-20 pounds: 4 to 5 days, 20-24 pounds: 5 to 6 days…”

“The Met has vehicle pounds at Charlton and Perivale, run by police staff and officers. Please make sure that you bring the correct documents with you; otherwise, we won’t be able to release your vehicle.”
—Metropolitan Police