côvado [Portugese]

See also covid, covido.

An old Portuguese unit of length belonging to the cubit family.


In Portugal, 15ᵗʰ – 20ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of length primarily used for cloth. For other goods, in Lisbon = 66 centimeters (about 25.98 inches). link to a chart showing relationships between Portuguese units of length Simmonds (1890) gives 25.8 inches.

Used for cloth, the côvado = 2 = 3 palmos de craveira avantejados = 24¾ pollegadas ≅ 680.6 mm (26.8 inches).

In Porto, ≅ 664.1 mm.



Chovidi 3 et un terzo di panno di Lisbona fanno in Firenze channa una sì che uno braccio di Firenze fa in Lisbona septe octavi di chovidi.

Three and a third covados of cloth in Lisbon make 1 canna in Florence, thus a Florentine bracca is in Lisbon 7/8 of a covado.

Chiarini, 1481.


Cloth Measure

A vara is equal to 3 ft. 7 1/8 inch English

A covedo "  " "  2  2 2/3 ditto

N.B. Broadcloth is sold by the covedo and muslins, &c. by the vara.

William Granville Eliot.
A Treatise on the Defence of Portugal, with a military map of the country, to which is added, a sketch of the manners and customs of the inhabitants,… Second Edition
London: Printed for T. Egerton, 1811.
Page 285.


Covado 3 palmos.....0,66 metro

Mappas das Medidas do Novo Systema Legal comparadas com as Antigas nos Diversos Concelhos do Reino e Ilhas.
Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional, 1868.
Page 298.


In Macau, 20ᵗʰ century, two units:


In Goa, 19ᵗʰ century, a unit of length, ≅ 680.6 millimeters.

Doursther 1840.


In Brazil opens map showing location of Brazil, Doursther (1840) says the côvado = 3 palmos = 25¾ polegada ≅ 652.2 millimeters. Nelkenbrcher (1890) says 148 côvados = 100 m, or 675.7 mm

For cloth, 27 côvados is considered the equivalent of 20 yards or 26 aunes de Brabant, ≅ 677 mm.

As Brazil prepared to adopt the metric system in 1874¹, the palmo was made 0.22 meter. That would make the côvado 66 cm.

1. L'Empire du Brésil à l'exposition universelle de 1867 à Paris.
Rio Janeiro: Typographie Universelle de Laemmert, 1867.
Page 63.

Where is Brazil?

A map showing the location of Brazil.

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