# Meter vs. Yard — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 7, 2023
A meter is a unit of length in the metric system, approximately equal to 39.37 inches. A yard is an imperial unit of length, equal to 3 feet or 36 inches.

## Key Differences

A meter is a fundamental unit of length in the metric system, which is used predominantly across the globe. In contrast, a yard is a unit of length primarily used in countries that follow the imperial system, like the United States and the United Kingdom. The choice of using meters or yards often depends on regional conventions and the system in place.
In terms of actual length, one meter is approximately equal to 1.0936 yards, or more precisely, 39.37 inches. A yard, on the other hand, is precisely 3 feet, or 36 inches. Therefore, a meter is slightly longer than a yard, and this difference can be crucial in activities like construction, sports, or scientific research.
Both meters and yards are versatile units and can be converted into smaller or larger units for convenience. For instance, a meter is made up of 100 centimeters while a yard can be divided into 3 feet or 36 inches. The divisibility and base units differ, reflecting the inherent differences between the metric and imperial systems.
When it comes to international acceptance, the meter has an edge as it's globally recognized and is the standard unit in scientific work. The yard, although significant in historical and cultural contexts, is less commonly used in international settings.
In daily life, meters are commonly used for road signs, clothing measurements, and grocery items in countries that adopt the metric system. Yards, conversely, are often used in American football fields, gardening, and certain trades in the U.S.

## Comparison Chart

Metric
Imperial

39.37
36

### Common Use

Global
Primarily U.S., U.K.

### Divisibility

100 centimeters
3 feet or 36 inches

Yes
No

## Compare with Definitions

#### Meter

Meter is a unit of length in the metric system.
The room is 5 meters long.

#### Yard

Yard is an imperial unit of length.
The garden is 20 yards wide.

#### Meter

Meter is equal to 100 centimeters.
A meter stick measures 100 centimeters.

#### Yard

Yard is primarily used in the U.S. and the U.K.
Yards are commonly used for property measurements in the United States.

#### Meter

Meter is approximately 1.0936 yards.
The Olympic swimming pool is 50 meters, or about 54.68 yards long.

#### Yard

The yard (symbol: yd) is an English unit of length, in both the British imperial and US customary systems of measurement, that comprises 3 feet or 36 inches. Since 1959 it is by international agreement standardized as exactly 0.9144 meters.

#### Meter

Meter is the standard unit for scientific measurements.

#### Yard

Abbr. yd. A fundamental unit of length in both the US Customary System and the British Imperial System, equal to 3 feet, or 36 inches (0.9144 meter). See Table at measurement.

#### Meter

Meter is globally recognized for length measurement.
Road signs in Europe display distances in meters.

#### Yard

(Nautical) A long tapering spar slung to a mast to support and spread the head of a square sail, lugsail, or lateen.

#### Meter

The measured arrangement of words in poetry, as by accentual rhythm, syllabic quantity, or the number of syllables in a line.

#### Yard

A square yard
Bought 4 yards of fabric.

#### Meter

A particular arrangement of words in poetry, such as iambic pentameter, determined by the kind and number of metrical units in a line.

#### Yard

A cubic yard
Dug up 100 yards of soil.

#### Meter

The rhythmic pattern of a stanza, determined by the kind and number of lines.

#### Yard

A tract of ground next to, surrounding, or surrounded by a building or buildings.

#### Meter

Division into measures or bars.

#### Yard

A tract of ground, often enclosed, used for a specific business or activity.

#### Meter

A specific rhythm determined by the number of beats and the time value assigned to each note in a measure.

A baseball park.

#### Meter

The international standard unit of length, approximately equivalent to 39.37 inches. It was redefined in 1983 as the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. See Table at measurement.

#### Yard

An area where railroad trains are made up and cars are switched, stored, and serviced on tracks and sidings.

#### Meter

Any of various devices designed to measure time, distance, speed, or intensity or indicate and record or regulate the amount or volume, as of the flow of a gas or an electric current.

#### Yard

A somewhat sheltered area where deer or other browsing animals congregate during the winter.

A postage meter.

#### Yard

An enclosed tract of ground in which animals, such as chickens or pigs, are kept.

A parking meter.

#### Yard

To enclose, collect, or put into a yard.

#### Meter

To measure with a meter
Meter a flow of water.

#### Yard

To gather together into a yard
The deer are yarding up in their winter grounds.

#### Meter

To supply in a measured or regulated amount
Metered the allotted gasoline to each vehicle.

#### Yard

A small, usually uncultivated area adjoining or (now especially) within the precincts of a house or other building.

#### Meter

To imprint with postage or other revenue stamps by means of a postage meter or similar device
Metering bulk mail.

#### Yard

The property surrounding one's house, typically dominated by one's lawn.

#### Meter

To provide with a parking meter or parking meters
Meter parking spaces.

#### Yard

An enclosed area designated for a specific purpose, e.g. on farms, railways etc.

#### Meter

A device that measures things.

#### Yard

A place where moose or deer herd together in winter for pasture, protection, etc.

#### Meter

A parking meter or similar device for collecting payment.
Gas meter

#### Yard

One’s house or home.

#### Meter

One who metes or measures.
A labouring coal-meter

#### Yard

A unit of length equal to 3 feet in the US customary and British imperial systems of measurement, equal to precisely 0.9144 m since 1959 (US) or 1963 (UK).

#### Meter

(American spelling) The base unit of length in the International System of Units (SI), conceived as 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator, and now defined as the distance light will travel in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 seconds.

#### Yard

Units of similar composition or length in other systems.

#### Meter

(American spelling) The overall rhythm of a song or poem; particularly, the number of beats in a measure or syllables in a line.

#### Yard

(nautical) Any spar carried aloft.

#### Meter

(obsolete) A poem.

#### Yard

(nautical) A long tapered timber hung on a mast to which is bent a sail, and may be further qualified as a square, lateen, or lug yard. The first is hung at right angles to the mast, the latter two hang obliquely.

#### Meter

(American spelling) A line above or below a hanging net, to which the net is attached in order to strengthen it.

#### Yard

(obsolete) A branch, twig, or shoot.

#### Meter

To measure with a metering device.

#### Yard

(obsolete) A staff, rod, or stick.

#### Meter

To imprint a postage mark with a postage meter.

A penis.

#### Meter

To regulate the flow of or to deliver in regulated amounts (usually of fluids but sometimes of other things such as anticipation or breath).

100 dollars.

#### Meter

One who, or that which, metes or measures. See Coal-meter.

#### Yard

(obsolete) The yardland, an obsolete English unit of land roughly understood as 30 acres.

#### Meter

An instrument for measuring, and usually for recording automatically, the quantity measured.

#### Yard

(obsolete) The rod, a surveying unit of (once) 15 or (now) 2 feet.

#### Meter

A line above or below a hanging net, to which the net is attached in order to strengthen it.

#### Yard

(obsolete) The rood, area bound by a square rod, 4 acre.

#### Meter

Rhythmical arrangement of syllables or words into verses, stanzas, strophes, etc.; poetical measure, depending on number, quantity, and accent of syllables; rhythm; measure; verse; also, any specific rhythmical arrangements; as, the Horatian meters; a dactylic meter.
The only strict antithesis to prose is meter.

#### Yard

(finance) 109, A short scale billion; a long scale thousand millions or milliard.
I need to hedge a yard of yen.

A poem.

#### Yard

(transitive) To confine to a yard.

#### Meter

A measure of length, equal to 39.37 English inches, the standard of linear measure in the metric system of weights and measures. It was intended to be, and is very nearly, the ten millionth part of the distance from the equator to the north pole, as ascertained by actual measurement of an arc of a meridian. See Metric system, under Metric.

#### Yard

To move a yard at a time, as opposed to inching along.

#### Meter

The basic unit of length adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites (approximately 1.094 yards)

#### Yard

A rod; a stick; a staff.
If men smote it with a yerde.

#### Meter

Any of various measuring instruments for measuring a quantity

#### Yard

A branch; a twig.
The bitter frosts with the sleet and rainDestroyed hath the green in every yerd.

#### Meter

(prosody) the accent in a metrical foot of verse

#### Yard

A long piece of timber, as a rafter, etc.

#### Meter

Rhythm as given by division into parts of equal time

#### Yard

A measure of length, equaling three feet, or thirty-six inches, being the standard of English and American measure.

#### Meter

Measure with a meter;
Meter the flow of water

The penis.

#### Meter

Stamp with a meter indicating the postage;
Meter the mail

#### Yard

A long piece of timber, nearly cylindrical, tapering toward the ends, and designed to support and extend a square sail. A yard is usually hung by the center to the mast. See Illust. of Ship.

#### Yard

A place where moose or deer herd together in winter for pasture, protection, etc.

#### Yard

An inclosure; usually, a small inclosed place in front of, or around, a house or barn; as, a courtyard; a cowyard; a barnyard.
A yard . . . inclosed all about with sticksIn which she had a cock, hight chanticleer.

#### Yard

An inclosure within which any work or business is carried on; as, a dockyard; a shipyard.

#### Yard

To confine (cattle) to the yard; to shut up, or keep, in a yard; as, to yard cows.

#### Yard

A unit of length equal to 3 feet; defined as 91.44 centimeters; originally taken to be the average length of a stride

#### Yard

The enclosed land around a house or other building;
It was a small house with almost no yard

#### Yard

A tract of land enclosed for particular activities (sometimes paved and usually associated with buildings);
They opened a repair yard on the edge of town

#### Yard

An area having a network of railway tracks and sidings for storage and maintenance of cars and engines

#### Yard

An enclosure for animals (as chicken or livestock)

#### Yard

A unit of volume (as for sand or gravel)

#### Yard

A long horizontal spar tapered at the end and used to support and spread a square sail or lateen

#### Yard

The cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100

#### Yard

Yard is equal to 3 feet or 36 inches.
A yardstick measures 3 feet or 36 inches.

#### Yard

Yard is less than a meter by about 3 inches.
His jump was just shy of a yard, which is less than a meter.

#### Yard

Yard is often used in sports fields.
American football fields are measured in yards.

## Common Curiosities

#### How long is a meter?

A meter is approximately 39.37 inches long.

#### What is a meter?

A meter is a unit of length in the metric system.

#### Is a meter longer than a yard?

Yes, a meter is longer than a yard by about 3.37 inches.

#### How long is a yard?

A yard is 36 inches long.

#### Which countries primarily use meters?

Most countries globally use meters as the standard unit of length.

#### Which countries primarily use yards?

The U.S. and the U.K. primarily use yards.

#### How many feet are in a yard?

There are 3 feet in a yard.

#### Can meters be converted into yards?

Yes, meters can be converted into yards, and vice versa.

#### How many centimeters are in a meter?

There are 100 centimeters in a meter.

#### What is a yard?

A yard is an imperial unit of length.

#### What are meters commonly used for?

Meters are commonly used in road signs, scientific research, and everyday measurements.

#### Why is the meter more globally accepted?

The meter is more globally accepted because it is part of the metric system, which is a standardized system used worldwide.

#### What are yards commonly used for?

Yards are commonly used in American football, gardening, and property measurements.

#### Is the meter a standard unit in science?

Yes, the meter is the standard unit for scientific measurements of length.

#### Is the yard a standard unit in science?

No, the yard is not a standard unit for scientific measurements.

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger