Systems of Measure in Ethiopia

This page has been contributed and is maintained by Yared Berhane. Please send comments and suggestions to him at

1.     Azq -- A measure of distance about an inch long.  People in the 
              countryside use the distance from the tip of their index
              finger to the first fold (Angua).

2.  Sinzir -- A measure of distance from the tip of the middle finger
              to the tip of the thumb while the hand is fully extended.
              This could reach anywhere between six to twelve inches 
              depending on the length of the hand.

3.   Kend  -- A measure of distance from the tip of one's elbow to the
              tip of the middle finger.  This distance could be anywhere
              from from a foot to nearly two feet depending the size of
              the arm.

4.   Aarb  -- A measure of lengh approximately about a yard.  Used to
              measure woven fabrics like shoals. (Netela, Gabi, Kuta)

5.  Chamma -- A mesure of distance from the back of the heel to the
              tip of the big toe.  A chamma could be anywhere from
              a few inches to aa dozen or more inches depending the    
              size of one's foot.

6.   Enqib -- A measure of volume approximately about one bushel.
              This is used to measure grains.

7. Dawulla -- A volume measure of approximately 50 Kgs. The size of 
              the dawulla depends on the size of the animal (goat or
              sheep) that used to inhabit the skin of which the 
              dawulla was made. Unsed to measure grains.

8. Ermijja -- A linear distance measure of about a Yard of a 
              person's extended walk. 

9. Senselet-- A linear measure used to measure land.  
             (I do not have the exact distance of a Senselet)
             (at this point but I will look it up)

10. Gasha  -- An area measure of land. (25 Senselet Squared)  
             (A Gasha is 25 Senselet by 25 Senselet)

11. Tassa, Ensira, Gerewoina and Gan -- These are containers of      
      liquids which are also used to measure volume.  A Tassa is about a 
      litre, Ensira depnds on how big the container happens to be 
      anywhere from two to several gallons, Gerewoina is about 20 or 30
      litres( I have to check), and a Gan is several gallons.

12. Feresulla -- This is a kind of volume measure that seems to change
                 with the item being measured.  A Feresulla Qibe (butter)
                 is different from a Feresulla Mar (honey) and this is 
                 different from a Feresulla Berbere (Red peppers)        

13. Quintal -- A hunderd Kgs. of weight (This looks like it may have 
               come with modern measuring instruments)