Disputatio:Uncia (mensura longitudinis)

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Romance languages notwithstanding, the usual Latin word for inch is uncia (yes it also means ounce, and several other units of measure, but that doesn't change the fact that it's the usual term.) Is pollex even attested in this sense? --Iustinus 15:58, 16 Augusti 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it is used by Cato in this sense (De agri cultura 19.2; 20); uncia is used by Fronto and Pliny.
No, I'm wrong. Cato uses "digitus pollex", and it isn't clear that he means "a measure of 1/12 foot", he may rather mean "the thickness of a thumb". So I don't know a source for "pollex" in this sense. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 16:46, 16 Augusti 2011 (UTC)

Pollex was certainly the standard term in modern scientific Latin; see (for the first example I thought of) this - 5 uses of pollex, none of uncia. Also search Google Books for oblique cases of pollex and find many more uses. I suppose if we want to be purely classical, we should use uncia, but both names should surely be mentioned. Do modern Latinists say pollex or uncia - or do they just stick to the metric system? Pantocrator 11:51, 17 Augusti 2011 (UTC)