A unit of liquid capacity. Abbreviation, “gi”.


In Britain, 14ᵗʰ–20ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of capacity, in imperial measure after 1825 = ¼ imperial pint, approximately 142.065 milliliters. Sometimes called a noggin. link to a chart showing relationships between the smaller English units of capacity

In the north of England, often = ½ pint.

In 1310, the city of London forbade the use of the gill. See here.



The Gill, Quartern, or Noggin, is not mentioned with the other denominations in Sec. 15 of the 1878 Act, but it is given in the Second Schedule, without being defined. The same omissions occur in many of the Colonial Acts. It varies locally, but in Australia, and, usually, it is taken as ¼ pint (say 1 deciliter). It is not used throughout South Africa, but is in West Africa. In the North of England it is ½ pint.

Alfred J. Martin.
Up-to-date Tables of Imperial, Metric, Indian and Colonial Weights and Measures…
London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1904.
Page 60.



Bailie Stevinson's yr., his accompt to Mrs. Murthland.
Novr 9, 1708, Imprimis a mutchken of and half a gill of brandie £00 15 08
Itt: half a gill of sack; 00 01 06

Wiliam Hector.
Judicial Records of Renfrewshire. Illustrative of the Administration of the Laws of the County, and Manners and Condition of the Inhabitants, in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
Paisley: J. & J. Cook, 1876.


But let the farmer, when the cows are dry, or quey's before calving, take a quarter of an ounce of corrosive sublimate, dissolve it in a gill of water, apply the solution once to the warts, and let the cows stand three or four days.
Banks of the Ayr, 17th Jan. 1817. R.A.

The Farmer's Magazine: A Periodical Work, Exclusively Devoted to Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Vol. 18.
Edinburgh: 1817.
Page 30.


They measure their blacke Tynne, by the Gill, the Toplisse, the Dish and the Foote, which containeth: a pint, a pottel, a gallon, and towards two gallons.

Richard Carew.
A Survey of Cornwall...A New Edition.
London: Printed for B. Law, 1769.


In the United States, a unit of liquid capacity, = ¼ U.S. fluid pint, approximately 118.294 milliliters. link to a chart showing relationships between the smaller English units of capacity The word “gill” is now almost never used in the United States; this quantity is referred to as a “half cup.”



That Hannibal French, late of the town of Southampton, in the county of Suffolk, merchant, and Charles J. Conklin, late of the same place, merchant, on the fifteenth day of February, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, with force and arms, at the town and in the county aforesaid, did willfully unlawfully and wrongfully sell, to divers persons, strong and spiritous liquors and wines, in quantities less than five gallons at a time, to wit, one gill of rum, one gill of brandy, one gill of whiskey, one gill of gin and one pint of wine, without having a license therefor granted.

Supreme Court. Dutchess General Term, April, 1856. Brown, S. B. Strong and Emott, Justices.
Hannibal French and Charles J. Conklin, plaintiffs in error, v. The People, defendants in error.
Amasa J. Parker.
Reports of Decisions in Criminal Cases made at Term, at Chambers, and in the Courts of Oyer and Terminer of the State of New York. Vol. III.
Albany: W. C. Little & Co., 1868.


An act of the Continental Congress, Nov. 4, 1775, directed that there should be issued daily to each soldier a pint of milk and a quart of spruce beer or cider, but no spirit ration was prescribed. April 30, 1790, it was enacted that every man should have half a gill of rum, brandy or whiskey daily. In 1794 the President was authorized to increase the quantity to a gill for troops on the frontiers. In 1795 a uniform ration of half a gill was ordered. In 1799 commanding officers were given discretionary powers, the ration to be, as before, half a gill. In 1802 this was increased to a gill. In 1804 it was provided that an equivalent of malt liquors or wine might be substituted for spirits at such seasons of the year as, in the opinion of the President, it might be desirable to make the change, in order to promote the health of the soldiers. In 1812 a gill of rum, whiskey or brandy was made a part of the regular daily ration. In 1818 power was given the President to make such changes in the component parts of the ration as he should think for the best, with due regard for health, comfort and economy. In 1832 soldiers were given the right to draw, instead of the spirit ration, coffee and sugar; and in 1838, coffee and sugar, or the money equivalent. An act of 1861 allowed a gill of whiskey dally to each man in cases of excessive fatigue and exposure, but in 1865 the ration was discontinued and it was ordered that the supply on hand should be sold.

In the navy the act of 1794 provided that a half-pint of spirits or a quart of beer should be a constituent of a daily ration. The act of 1801 did not authorize the alternative beer ration. In 1842 the ration was to be a gill of spirits, but persons under 21 were not permitted to draw the spirit ration; and half a pint of wine might be given instead by way of variety; and butter, cheese, raisins, dried fruit, pickles or molasses might be substituted; and sailors might take the value in money. In 1861 the ration was made a gill of spirits, with the right to draw half a pint of wine, or provisions, or money instead. In 1862 (Sept. 1) an act was passed declaring that the spirit ration in the navy should cease forever, and that no spirits should be admitted on board vessels of war except as medical stores; and in lieu of the ration five cents per day was added to the pay of each sailor.

The Cyclopedia of Temperance and Prohibition.
New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1891.
Pages 642-643.

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