Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: speed units


    • Join Date: Jul 2008
    • Posts: 10
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    speed units

    Hello,

    What unit of speed does the abbreviation K (or k?) stand for?
    Here is the context:
    -How fast does it go? (the jet ski)
    -Oh, it goes pretty quick, mate.
    -Knots, or what have you got on there?
    -Oh, Ks.
    -How many Ks are you getting?
    -Oh, probably… Oh, it’s probably eighty K.
    -Eighty K? Fifty knots. That’s good.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 23,074
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: speed units

    Quote Originally Posted by cassiopeia View Post
    Hello,

    What unit of speed does the abbreviation K (or k?) stand for?
    Here is the context:
    -How fast does it go? (the jet ski)
    -Oh, it goes pretty quick, mate.
    -Knots, or what have you got on there?
    -Oh, Ks.
    -How many Ks are you getting?
    -Oh, probably… Oh, it’s probably eighty K.
    -Eighty K? Fifty knots. That’s good.
    Kilometres per hour.


    • Join Date: Jul 2008
    • Posts: 10
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: speed units

    Thanks!

    My guess was an obscure non-metric unit, since 80 km/h = 43 knots, not 50, but I suppose 50 is a rough conversion.

  2. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 15,854
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: speed units

    Also, the 'K' that appears at the beginning of 'kilometre' (derived from the Greek for 'thousand') is also used in computing, where it means a binary thousand (1024). In common parlance, people used 'K' to mean 'kilobytes' (1024 bytes, strictly 'Kb'), and then extended this usage to refer - colloquially - to a decimal thousand. So people now say they earn £40K (meaning 40,000 rather than [40 x 1024]!)

    b

  3. Offroad's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Brazilian Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 2,815
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: speed units

    Quote Originally Posted by cassiopeia View Post
    Hello,

    What unit of speed does the abbreviation K (or k?) stand for?
    It's k (not K), that stands for kilo, kilometre, kilogram, kilobar etc. It's the International System of Units, widely used in both commerce and science.

    Here's the usage:
    10 km/h
    10 Km/h
    10km/h
    10Km/h

    K, not k, stands for Kelvin, unit of temperature.

    273.15 K
    273.15 ºK


  4. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 15,854
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: speed units

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    It's k (not K), that stands for kilo, kilometre, kilogram, kilobar etc. It's the International System of Units, widely used in both commerce and science.

    Here's the usage:
    10 km/h
    10 Km/h
    10km/h
    10Km/h

    K, not k, stands for Kelvin, unit of temperature.

    273.15 K
    273.15 ºK


    That's the correct usage, in SI terms. But this colloquial usage doesn't have a 'correct' written form. And given the choice between 'The speedo is in ks' and 'The speedo is in Ks' I think most transcribers would choose the latter.

    As a matter of interest, this 'Ks' refers to a speed. I don't think I've ever heard that in the UK, except from the mouths of Australian cricket commentators.

    In the UK, "K" as an abbreviation for kilometre, doesn't have the s; people refer to 'A 10K run'.

    b

  5. Offroad's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Brazilian Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
      • Current Location:
      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 2,815
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: speed units

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post


    That's the correct usage, in SI terms. But this colloquial usage doesn't have a 'correct' written form. And given the choice between 'The speedo is in ks' and 'The speedo is in Ks' I think most transcribers would choose the latter.
    b
    Of course, people don't give a **** about the correct usage.
    I would not use it that way. In formal writing, this colloquial usage is considered wrong.


Similar Threads

  1. Gather steam or gather speed?
    By st_hart in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Aug-2009, 20:13
  2. speed control
    By beachboy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 15-Sep-2008, 02:24
  3. Phrasal verbs: to sail off and to speed on
    By cathyparis in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-Mar-2008, 21:33
  4. How to improve reading speed
    By shirley Yi in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-May-2007, 03:40
  5. speed rack
    By Imogena in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-Oct-2006, 14:11

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •