decimal system of weights and measures in which the gram, meter, and liter are the basic units of weight, length, and capacity, respectively.
system of measuring size, weight, and volume, based upon decimal units. The basic metric system units are grams, meters, and liters. One gram = 0.035 ounce. One meter = 39.37 inches. One liter = 61.025 cubic inches (cubic capacity), 0.908 quart (dry measure), or 1.057 quarts (liquid measure).
All nations of the world with the exception of the United States and two very small countries use the metric system. The U.S. reluctance to conform with these worldwide standards makes it difficult to market packaged goods globally. For example, a consumer abroad accustomed to buying in liter or gram quantities will not understand a package label that uses quarts or ounces. Also, food package recipes cannot be easily translated from teaspoons and cups to grams and liters as required for non-U.S. cooking utensils. However, for international marketing, the expense of printing metric versions of labels and packages is a costly necessity.