What does cm mean in length?

Published: 8/3/2021 Last updated: 8/3/2021
What does cm mean in length? Is a centimeter a big unit? Or in turn, quite small? How does a practical usage of a cm look? Keep reading to know the answers and finally see what a cm means in length exactly.
What does cm mean in length?
Table of contents:

What does cm mean in length? Is a centimeter a big unit? Or in turn, quite small? How does a practical usage of a cm look? Keep reading to know the answers and finally see what a cm means in length exactly.

What does cm mean in length – questions like that are commonly asked by people who use other units of length in everyday life. It concerns mainly these people who use inches instead of centimeters. And it is understandable. To understand another unit of length, in this case a centimeter, it is needed to know some theory and, of course, examples.

And that’s what you will find in this article. A little bit of theory, comparison of a centimeter to other units (both from SI system and other systems of measurement) and practical examples of usage of cm. Let’s start.

A centimeter – basic information

First things first – a centimeter is a unit of length. And it’s not surprising for any of you, we are sure. But from which system of units a centimeter comes from? How is a centimeter defined? Where is it used? Let’s see.

The centimeter is a part of the International System of Units. You can see this system also written as the SI. It is a short form. Sometimes this system is also called the metric system. It is caused by the SI is a modern version of the formerly used metric system.

And now information which can surprise you – the centimeter has no legal definition. It means there is no descriptive way to define this unit. The centimeter is defined with the use of other units of length. So it is a comparative definition.

The most popular definition of a centimeter is in comparison to a meter. How does this definition look?

  • 1 centimeter = 0.01 meters.

So 1 centimeter is equal to 0.01 (1/100) meters.

And the last thing – where is a centimeter used? This unit of length is a basic smaller unit of length in continental Europe. So, for instance, a centimeter is used to measure shorter lengths in Germany, France or Italy.

What does cm mean in length when it comes to other units? Check it in the next 2 parts of this article.

A centimeter and other units of length from the SI

We showed you the basic comparative definition of the centimeter. You saw the comparison of this unit to the meter. These 2 units come from the SI. But of course, there are more units of length in this system. And now we want to show you comparisons of cm to other units of length from the SI.

We are going to show you 3 different comparisons. First, to a millimeter. Second, to a decimeter. And third, to a kilometer. So let’s see what cm means in length when it comes to the International System of Units.

What does cm mean in comparison to a millimeter? Have a look:

  • 1 centimeter = 10 millimeters.

So 1 centimeter is equal to 10 millimeters. It means a centimeter is a bigger unit than a millimeter.

Let’s see another comparison. This time a centimeter to a decimeter:

  • 1 centimeter = 0.1 decimeters.

So 1 centimeter is exactly 0.1 decimeters. In comparison to a decimeter, a centimeter is a smaller unit now.

And the last comparison. Compare a centimeter to a kilometer. It looks as follows:

  • 1 centimeter = 0.00001 kilometers.

So 1 centimeter is equal to 0.00001 of a kilometer. As you see, the kilometer is the biggest unit of length of all shown in this part. And of course, a centimeter is the smallest in comparison to it.

But there are also other systems of measurement. So what does cm mean in length in comparison to units of length from other systems? Let’s see it in the next part.

A centimeter and units of length from other systems of measurement

A centimeter is commonly compared to an inch, the unit of length which is a part of the Imperial system of measurement and the United States customary system of measurement. And that’s why we are going to show you what cm means in length in comparison to other units of length from these 2 systems of units.

In this part, we will show you 3 comparisons of a centimeter too. First, to an inch. Second, to feet. Third, to a yard. So let’s start.

So let’s see the first one. What does cm mean in length in comparison to an inch? Have a look:

  • 1 centimeter = 1/2.54 inches ≈ 0.393700787 inches.

So as you can see, an inch is a bigger unit than a centimeter – 1 centimeter is approximately 0.393700787 inches.

The second comparison is a comparison of a centimeter to feet. Let’s see:

  • 1 centimeter = 25/64 feet ≈ 0.032808399 feet.

So 1 centimeter is approximately 0.032808399 feet. It means a centimeter is a smaller unit than feet.

And the last comparison. What does cm mean in length in comparison to a yard? See it down below:

  • 1 centimeter = 0.010936133 yards.

So 1 centimeter is equal to 0.010936133 yards. And as in the previous examples, a centimeter is now also a smaller unit. And the yard, as you may know, is the biggest of all given in this part.

You know what cm means in length in comparison to other units of length from different systems of measurement. So now it is time to see how a cm is used in everyday life. We are sure it will be the most interesting part, so let’s move on.

Practical usage – what does cm mean in shoe size?

To show you the practical usage of a centimeter, we decided to focus on shoe size. A centimeter, like an inch, is a unit of length used commonly to describe shoe sizes. So let’s see the EU shoe sizes given in centimeters and US and UK shoe sizes given in inches in comparison to centimeters.

What does cm mean in shoe size? We are going to show you 2 tables.

In the first table down below you can see the women’s EU shoe sizes with their values given in centimeters. Let’s see:

Women’s EU shoe size Foot length in centimeters
37 23 cm
38 23.8 cm
39 24.6 cm
40 25.4 cm

In turn, in the second table, you can see the men’s EU shoe sizes with their values given in centimeters. Have a look:

Men’s EU shoe size Foot length in centimeters
40 24.4 cm
41 25.2 cm
42 26 cm
43 26.8 cm
44 27.8 cm
45 28.6 cm
46 29.4 cm

So now you know how EU shoe sizes look, both women’s and men’s, given in centimeters. But what does cm mean for shoe size when it comes to comparison to inches and US and UK sizes? See it in the next 2 tables.

The first table is dedicated to women’s US and UK shoe sizes:

Women’s US shoe size Women’s UK shoe size Foot length in inches Foot length in centimeters
6 4 8.75 in 22.5 cm
6.5 4.5 9 in 23 cm
7 5 9.25 in 23.5 cm
7.5 5.5 9.375 in 23.8 cm
8 6 9.5 in 24 cm
8.5 6.5 9.75 in 24.6 cm
9 7 9.875 in 25 cm
9.5 7.5 10 in 25.4 cm
10 8 10.2 in 25.9 cm

And the second table, dedicated to men’s US and UK shoe sizes:

Men’s US shoe size Men’s UK shoe size Foot length in inches Foot length in centimeters
7 6 9.6 in 24.4 cm
7.5 6.5 9.75 in 24.8 cm
8 7 9.9 in 25.2 cm
8.5 7.5 10.125 in 25.7 cm
9 8 10.25 in 26 cm
9.5 8.5 10.4 in 26.5 cm
10910.6 in 26.8 cm
10.59.5 10.75 in 27.3 cm
111010.9 in27.8 cm
11.5 10.5 11.125 in 28.3 cm
12 11 11.25 in 28.6 cm
13 12 11.6 in 29.4 cm

What does cm mean in shoe size? We are sure that now you can answer that question quickly – cm is used to measure foot length and define shoe size. And, of course, if you will need a more precise result, you can check it in the shoe size charts given above.

What does cm mean in length – summary

And that’s all we want to tell you about the meaning of cm in length. In the end, we want to quickly sum up the topic. Firstly, we want to remind you of the most important information about a centimeter. Read them and check how much you have remembered:

  1. What is the system from which a centimeter comes? A centimeter comes from the SI (International System of Units).
  2. Where is a centimeter used as a basic smaller unit of length? A centimeter is used mostly in continental Europe.
  3. What is the most commonly used definition of a centimeter? A centimeter is defined per comparison. The most commonly known definition is: 1 centimeter = 0.01 meters.

Down below you can also find a table with all values of a centimeter mentioned in this article. Thanks to it you will be able to quickly find the result which you currently need. Have a look:

1 centimeter 10 millimeters
1 centimeter 0.1 decimeters
1 centimeter 0.01 meters
1 centimeter 0.00001 kilometers
1 centimeter 1/2.54 inches ≈ 0.393700787 inches
1 centimeter 25/64 feet ≈ 0.032808399 feet
1 centimeter 0.010936133 yards

You know the meaning of cm in length from A to Z. So let’s use this knowledge in practice now, for instance, when you will pick the size of your new shoes.

Do you want to know more about centimeters to inches conversion? Check also our other article and convert like a pro.