The units described in this article are those implemented in the United States on July 1, 1959, when a new definition took effect by law, and in the United Kingdom in 1963, with a Weights and Measures Act of that year, as a result of an agreement between the United States and the nations of the Commonwealth of Nations. Because of this agreement, they are properly described as International, although in all countries other than the United States they have been phased out in favor of the metric system ({{International System of Units]], abbreviated SI from its French designation).

The history of these units in the United States prior to 1959 is detailed in United States customary units of length or distance and the history in the United Kingdom between 1824 and 1963 in British Imperial units of length or distance. (Prior to 1824, the term British Imperial is incorrect and the units are properly described as traditional British, and the history prior to 1824 is therefore described separately.)

Although tables of their values are found on both the United States and British Imperial pages, and their values given there, the table of the common International units and their values is also given below for reference.

Name of unit Value in terms of smaller units Value in terms of the meter
inch 0.0254
foot 12 inches 0.3048
yard 3 feet 0.9144
rod 5½ yards 5.0292
furlong 40 rods 201.168
mile 8 furlongs 1609.344
league 3 miles 4828.032

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