dira [Arabic, ذراع]

A widespread Arabic unit of length, romanized in a variety of ways, including dirah, diraa, deraâ.


In Aden, 20ᵗʰ century, a unit of length, = 18 inches (45.72 centimeters). 

United Nations, 1966.


In Saudi Arabia, 20ᵗʰ century, two units:

United Nations, 1966.


In Egypt, ? – 20ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of length, often called a pik. There were a variety of derai, all of which were subdivided into 6 abdats and 24 kerat.

Name Use Value,
dira Nili   25.45
dira baladi Cloth measure for canvas, linen, Egyptian cotton. 56.82
dira Istambouli Cloth measure for woolen cloth and European silk. 66.91
dira hendazch Cloth measure for silk from Constantinople, Indian muslins and most cotton cloth. 64.79
dira memari construction 75
dira For itinerant distances. 73.89

In Alexandria, 20ᵗʰ century, the diraa mémari was also a unit of area, approximately 0.5625 square meters.¹

1. United Nations, 1966.



dhira baladi, 0.58 meter
dhira handasa 0.65 m
dhira stambouli, 0.66 m
dhira ma’mari, 0.75 m

William P. Blake, editor.
Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition, 1867.
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1870.
Page 40.


In Sudan opens map showing location of Sudan, 20ᵗʰ century, a unit of length, approximately 58 centimeters (about 22.8 inches).¹ Amery states:

A Sudan dira = length from elbow to middle finger tip of left arm plus breadth of right hand = 22½ in.

Amery assessed the dira baladi in the Sudan at about 58 cm (about 22.8 inches)

1. United Nations, 1966.

2. H[arald] F[rançois] S[aphir] Amery.
English-Arabic Vocabulary for the Use of Officials of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, compiled in the Intelligence Department of the Egyptian Army.
Cairo: Al-Mokattam Printing Office, 1905.
Page 429.

Where is Sudan?

A map showing the location of Sudan.


In modern Greece,


In India, ? – 19ᵗʰ century,

Ziráâ, also pronounced, Diráa, corruptly, Dirrah, Direh, H[indi]. (A[rabic]. ذراع ) A measure of length, a cubit, a yard : in the Regulations it is considered synonymous with Gaz, q.v.

H. H. Wilson, 1855, page 567.

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