Admittedly, plenty of folk are still having trouble with the old metric/imperial divide, but I believe that society could shuffle up and make room for a few of these charming linguistic gems, if only someone could squeeze them back into everyday use. Here are some of my favourites - why not try to drop them into conversation and see what happens?
- The hobbit
Used to measure: Volume or weight, in 19th-century Wales. One hobbit was equal to four pecks, or two and a half bushels, or eight gallons.
NOT used to measure: Hairiness of feet. A hairiness level above five hobbits should mean that you qualify for free depilatory treatments on the NHS.
- The corgee
Used to measure: Quantities of grain, in the Kanara region of Karnataka, India. One corgee was equal to 212 rush mat bundles of rice. I have no idea how much that was in real terms, but it sounds like quite a lot.
NOT used to measure: How much dog hair is left on the furniture in Buckingham Palace.
- The puddee
Used to measure: Dry volume, in Chennai, India. One puddee is about a litre and a half.
NOT used to measure: Anything that Tweety Pie tawt he taw.
- The pood
Used to measure: A Russian unit of mass, just over 36 lbs. According to Wikipedia, there's an old Russian proverb that says "You never know a man until you have eaten a pood of salt with him." Well, a couple of trips to your average chip shop should take care of that.
NOT used to measure: The curliness of a perm. Perhaps 100 poods should equal 1 doyle.
- The candy
Used to measure: Weight or volume, in south India and Sri Lanka. Roughly equivalent to 500 lbs, which is quite a lot of candy in anyone's book.
NOT used to measure: How many sweets you've eaten. Which is a shame, because it would be nice to honestly say "I only ate one candy" if you secretly knew that a candy meant seventeen family-size bags of marshmallows and a Creme Egg.
- The homer
Used to measure: Liquids, in the ancient Hebrew measuring system.
NOT used to measure: The height of Marge's hairdo.
- The fistmele
Used to measure: The distance between a bow and its string in archery.
NOT used to measure: The quantity of breakfast cereal you can grab with one hand while holding a carton of milk in the other hand when you're sleepy, hungover and already late for work.
- The batman
Used to measure: Weight, in the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia.
NOT used to measure: How goddamn scary you are. But it goddamn should be...
However, if none of these accurately measure the floatiness of your boat, you may be interested in the List of humorous units of measurement, which includes delights such as the smoot.
And rest assured, as soon as I've honed my patented measuring system for pertness in the male posterior (12 pinches in a tennant, 20 tennants in a cumberbatch), the world will hear about it...