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The dram (archaic spelling drachm; apothecary symbol ) was historically both a coin and a weight. Currently it is both a small mass in the Apothecaries' system of weights and a small unit of volume. This unit is called more correctly fluid dram or in contraction also fluidram.

Ancient unit of mass



Greek and Roman drachm are related by the approximate ratio 25 : 32.

The Ottoman dirhem is based on the Sassanian drachm is itself based on the Roman dram/drachm. Modern Armenian drams, the currency of the Republic of Armeniamarker, share this origin.

Modern unit of mass

In the avoirdupois system, the dram is the mass of  pound or  ounce. So the dram weighs  grains or exactly  grams.

The dram (symbol: ʒ) is also the mass of  pound (℔) or  ounce (℥) in the apothecaries' system that survived until the middle of the 20th century in English-speaking countries. It is equal to 3 scruples (℈) or 60 grains (G). Thus, it is equal to exactly  grams.

Unit of volume

The fluid dram is defined as of a fluid ounce, which means it is exactly equal to
  • 3.696 691 195 312 5 mL in the United States and
  • 3.551 632 812 500 0 mL in the Commonwealth and Ireland.


In the United Kingdom, a teaspoon was formerly defined as 3/2 fluid dram.

Dram is also used informally to mean a small amount of liquid, especially Scotch whisky.

"Dram" is also used as a measure of the powder charge in a shotgun shell.

See also




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