What Is a Gram?

Grams are the smallest units of weight used in the metric system of measurement. The metric system replaced the gravet system in the 1600s and is now used worldwide for non-liquid measurements of items like food, clothing, and medicine. In the culinary world, chefs and home cooks use grams to create dishes that have precise flavors and textures.

One gram equals the mass of a cubic centimeter of water at its maximum density, which is about 4 degC. The unit’s name comes from the Greek and Latin gramma, meaning “small weight.” Originally, it was a base unit of the 19th-century centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system, which was displaced by the metre-kilogram-second (MKS) system in 1960. The gram is the most commonly used unit of measurement in the world today for non-liquid ingredients, though ounces are also often used for liquid measurements.

When measuring an item on a scale, place it on a flat surface that is stable and free from vibrations to ensure accurate results. Turn on the scale and select a measure or mode, such as “g” or “mg.” Place an empty container or tray on the scale to tare or zero it. This resets the scale to account for the weight of the object you’re measuring.

The official symbol for a gram is g, which should always be written out in full when using it in technical and scientific contexts or in legally regulated product labels. However, a variety of abbreviations are common, including gr, gm, and gms.

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