Main definitions of ton in English

: ton1ton2

ton1

(US tn) (also t)

noun

  • 1A unit of weight equal to 2,240 lb avoirdupois (1016.05 kg).

    • ‘The 60 metre steel towers, which were manufactured in Denmark, were delivered in three sections and have a total weight of 90 tons.’
    • ‘The feats achieved in this film make spectacular viewing, with tiny lorries hauling sacks of cement totalling several tons in weight as they climb fantastic Scottish mountain tracks.’
    • ‘Couriers ride the trikes with attached trailers, the strongest of which can take a quarter of a ton in weight, from our Walmgate offices with the latest copies of the newspaper and ferry them to various destinations.’
    • ‘More than a fifth of urban wagons weighed over three tons, with heavier weights requiring long, hard-to-manage multiple-horse teams.’
    • ‘We have the equivalent of four tons of high explosives for every person on earth.’
    • ‘The fruit was too hard to be pressed in a wine press and a circular stone mill was used, comprising a mill stone of about a ton in weight which stood upright in a trough and was pulled round by a pony.’
    • ‘Yields of clover treated with the potassium-rich ash, worth up to £1,200 per ton, increased by 150%.’
    • ‘The cast weighed four tons and measured 16 feet.’
    • ‘Every single ship in the US Navy which put to sea would have their own set of 12,000 paper maps, adding more than a ton of weight and taking up a great deal of space.’
    • ‘Every household in Swindon produces an average of a ton of waste each year and most of it goes into landfill.’
    • ‘Altogether, though, with the palisades which were 23 feet in length and supported by marble columns at each end, the weight was 40 tons.’
    • ‘Scaffolding was erected around the building and the roof sections bolted on and weighted down with 80 tons of sand, suspended in two-ton bags.’
    • ‘It was nine feet long, almost a ton in weight and crammed with hi-tech equipment used to probe the ocean floor.’
    • ‘Between 1855 and 1858 the quantity of coal transported out of the district by the company had risen from 421,755 tons to 1,310,020 tons.’
    • ‘He estimated that he needed between 20,000 tons and 30,000 tons of supplies each month.’
    • ‘Over a ton of weight was then lifted gingerly out of the soil by a crane.’
    • ‘The film details the story of what might happen if an atomic bomb equal to 20,000 tons of TNT were exploded at 1,000 ft above a British city of half a million people.’
    • ‘The average head of human hair can support 23 tons of weight.’
    • ‘But we needed to push it, to bump-start it, which was easier said than done, with over a ton in weight to push, on a muddy field.’
    • ‘Mr Furness said the tanker was green and the cab was white. He thinks it could have been a milk tanker and was about 30 tons in weight.’
    1. 1.1North American A unit of weight equal to 2,000 lb avoirdupois (907.19 kg).
      • ‘Calico's annual output was accordingly very small through 1888, probably not exceeding 250 short tons, or 500,000 pounds, valued at no more than $33,500.’
      • ‘In the operation, 35,000 short tons of munitions were moved, but only 6,000 short tons were actually expended.’
      • ‘It sent 88 vehicles, 800 short tons and 100 troops to Italy in 1999.’
      • ‘As of June 2004, this small detachment of soldiers staged and moved 5,400 short tons of cargo, and 7,000 personnel aboard 620 aircraft.’
      • ‘A little more than a billion short tons of coal are mined each year in the United States.’
      • ‘Between August 1990 and May 1991, they also helped serve 94 million meals, stage and dispense one billion gallons of fuel, and handle 43,769 short tons of mail.’
      • ‘U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force and Army aircraft delivered several million gallons of fuel and short tons of supplies to support the operations.’
      • ‘In 1977 and 1978 about 5,000 short tons of potassium feldspar were mined from the Blue Spar.’
      • ‘At any given time, there are 2,500 vehicles on the road somewhere in theater, moving about 3.2 million short tons of materiel.’
      • ‘Between 1902 and 1906, the Pacific Coast Borax Company's total sales in the United States rose from 10,500 to 12,500 short tons.’
      • ‘In all, 2000 tons (1.8 million kilograms) of concrete went into the building.’
      • ‘Units exported or imported were reported only in pounds, gallons, bales, bushels, short tons, dozens, bags, crates and bunches, etc., depending on the commodity.’
      • ‘The situation will be exacerbated as the company winds down production at its Toyoha Mine - which produced around 30 short tons of indium last year - ahead of its closing in March.’
      • ‘All the vehicles and equipment together weigh about 13,000 short tons.’
      • ‘Total original resources for the five assessed coal beds are estimated at about 93 billion short tons, of which about 66 billion short tons remain.’
      • ‘The wing was lifted into place by a specially made crane from Valencia, which has a capacity of 2,400 tons (two million kilograms).’
      • ‘Adam thought about hitting Joe with it since the old gun weighed a short ton and had the kick of a mule when it went off.’
      • ‘It can travel at speeds of up to 40 knots, transport 1,000 short tons of equipment and more than 350 combat soldiers.’
      • ‘The expansion will increase copper production to 300,000 short tons per year from 100,000 tons currently.’
      • ‘Above ground stocks in New York, too, have fallen sharply and now stand at less than 45,000 short tons.’
    2. 1.2
      short for metric ton
    3. 1.3 A unit of measurement of a ship's weight representing the weight of water it displaces with the load line just immersed, equal to 2,240 lb or 35 cu. ft (0.99 cubic metres).
      • ‘St Albans weighs in with a displacement of 4,200 tons when she is fully loaded, and has a ship's company of around 180.’
      • ‘The four ships will replace the smaller LSLs of the Sir Galahad and Sir Bedivere classes, which displace between 6,700 tons and 8,585 tons fully loaded.’
      • ‘River-class ships are just under 80 metres long and displace 1,700 tons fully loaded.’
      • ‘The ships displaced between 425 and 440 tons fully loaded, with a speed of 15 knots.’
      a lot, a great deal, a great amount, a large amount, a large quantity, a number, an abundance, a wealth, a profusion, a mountain
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A unit of weight or volume of sea cargo, equal to a metric ton (1,000 kg) or 40 cu. ft.
      • ‘This year over 350 million tons of cargo will pass through Rotterdam.’
      • ‘The future of many others resident in the area is in jeopardy after the tanker, broken in two, dived to the bottom of the sea with its cargo of nearly 60,000 tons of oil.’
      • ‘Russia's former naval facility of Baltiysk next to Kaliningrad is being converted and modernized to handle an initial 1m tons of cargo a year.’
      • ‘The cargo of 2500 tons of wheat is still on board, but the priority is getting the fuel off.’
      • ‘During the operation itself, the fleet secured transportation by sea of 15,860 troops and over 15,000 tons of cargoes.’
      • ‘They are about 135 feet long; each has a crew of 14 sailors and can haul 125 tons of cargo.’
      • ‘With a cargo of 3,200 tons, the vessel is the biggest ship to enter the port in over twelve years.’
      • ‘According to the initial investigation, the ship was capable of carrying about a thousand tons of cargo.’
      • ‘She was of 136 tonnes gross and just under 100 feet long and she could carry about 250 tons of cargo.’
      • ‘There are 17,000 tons of cargo in the Chilean port of Arica that cannot be transported because the railroad between Arica and La Paz has been paralyzed.’
      • ‘The cargo, 4500 tons of bagged lentils, has long gone and the steel is rotting and sagging towards final, inevitable collapse.’
      • ‘The river provides transport for more than 472 million tons of cargo annually, including nearly half the grain exported from the United States.’
      • ‘A general cargo of 800 tons, including a large consignment of sulphate of ammonia, has arrived at Sligo Quays from Liverpool.’
      • ‘From coast to coast, in international ports all over the world, thousands of tons of cargo make their way into this country.’
      • ‘In all we seized 40,000 tons of illegal cargo, mostly oil.’
      • ‘The new ship would use a combination of helium and hydrogen in 17 separate gas cells to give it enough lifting power to accommodate hundreds of passengers or up to 80 tons of cargo.’
      • ‘Between them, the four vessels took in cargo totalling approximately 2,340 tons.’
      • ‘Obviously the consequence of an increasing number of voyages combined with rudimentary measuring systems was the frequent loss of ships, men, and tons of cargo.’
      • ‘Shanghai port handled a record 220 million tons of cargo in 2001, up 10 per cent over 2000.’
      • ‘It left Sharpness, South Wales on 10 October 1944 on a journey to Liverpool with a cargo of 350 tons of barley and never turned up.’
  • 2A unit of gross internal capacity, equal to 100 cu. ft (2.83 cubic metres).

    • ‘They also welded together 5,200 merchant ships totalling 39 million gross tons.’
    • ‘The International Maritime Organization already requires units above three hundred gross tons to carry Inmarsat-C, as part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and in accordance with the Safety of Life at Sea Convention.’
    • ‘He has nearly a million gross tons of ships under construction - worth more than $4 billion.’
    • ‘The Arctic Sunrise is a medium-sized vessel, weighing 949 gross tons.’
    • ‘Another mouse click brings up a table listing each individual bunker's location, its area in square feet, and its sand capacity in cubic feet, cubic yards and tons.’
    1. 2.1 An equivalent unit of net internal capacity.
      • ‘Upon entering service, the QM2 becomes the largest and longest passenger ship in the world at 150,000 gross register tons (8,000 more than the Voyager of the Seas) and 1,132 feet from stem to stern (exceeding the Norway by 97 feet).’
      • ‘Eventually, when lifted into place and welded, they will form a ship of 1,132 feet and approximately 150,000 gross register tons.’
      • ‘According to the committee, the annual growth rate, measured in 'net ton kilometers' of bulk commodities transported by railways, has declined from 5.33 per cent between 1984 and 1991 to 1.86 per cent between 1991 and 1999.’
      • ‘At 38,000 gross register tons, this is one of their smallest ships.’
      • ‘In this era of large cruise lines and huge new ships, a small company's acquisition of a third vessel - under 20,000 gross register tons and slightly used - might pass unnoticed.’
      • ‘With only 940 passengers, you get to know your shipmates; but at 49,400 gross register tons, she offers all the on-board options one could desire - sans the gimmicks of the new floating resorts.’
      • ‘U.S. citizenship is still required for an owner to document a vessel and the vessel must be at least five net tons.’
      • ‘More significant from the passenger's point of view, 85 percent of the Zuiderdam's cabins are outside, and 67 percent of all staterooms have private verandas - notable for a ship of 85,000 gross register tons.’
      • ‘The Ontario based company expects to ship 4.13 million net tons from its integrated steel business this year and it has entered into contracts for 52 percent of anticipated shipments, down from 58 percent in 2004.’
    2. 2.2 A measure of capacity for various materials, especially 40 cu. ft of timber.
      • ‘In 1772 one of the side branches was thrown down in a violent gale and, on being measured, was found to contain about five tons of timber.’
      • ‘Ramparts are being dug and a shipment of timber, 23 tons of English oak, was recently delivered to the site.’
      • ‘At present the forests there move between 80000 and 100000 tons of timber a year by road.’
      • ‘Sources in the industry say that about 2,000 tons of timber leave Mayo and the North West every week for the south eastern processing industry.’
    3. 2.3 A unit of refrigerating power able to freeze 2,000 lb of water at 0°C in 24 hours.
      • ‘The plant would produce 150 megawatts of electricity and 20,000 tons of cooling.’
  • 3usually a ton of/tons ofinformal A large number or amount.

    ‘all of a sudden I had tons of friends’
    • ‘Our newsletters also pack a ton of useful information into a small amount of space, if I may say so.’
    • ‘I'm so proud of her because she's made a ton of friends.’
    • ‘Even if she didn't make a ton of friends, she still thought the school was quite alright.’
    • ‘The store sells a ton of books and, just as important, serves as a focus and catalyst for a community of passionate readers.’
    • ‘So rest assured that you made a ton of friends even before you walked in the door.’
    • ‘We're not going to sell a ton of these, but when someone wants one, we've got them.’
    • ‘I've just finished reading a ton of books about vampires & werewolves.’
    • ‘I'm sure they'll sell a ton of soundtracks that people will stop listening to in a couple months.’
    • ‘We know he has always loved the art of campaigning, and he seems to be relishing this opportunity to sell a ton of books and also to polish up his legacy.’
    • ‘I've got a ton of books waiting to be read and an economy size box of hot chocolate just sitting on the counter waiting to be called to duty.’
    • ‘I later learned that Brandon's girlfriend had decided to invite, without telling Peter, a ton of her friends from her school.’
    • ‘I lived in this small town in Alaska with a ton of friends, and everything seemed perfect.’
    • ‘This two-disc set is loaded with a ton of informative, entertaining, and engrossing bonus features.’
    • ‘It also weighs a ton, considering it's quite a bit smaller than it's big brother.’
    • ‘He has a bunch of books and a ton of websites and a seemingly huge and devoted following.’
    • ‘In the long run they did publish the book and made a ton of money.’
    • ‘She knows just about everything that's going on around the school, she has a ton of friends, and she's a freshman dating a senior!’
    • ‘My friend brought along a ton of gymnastic books and magazines.’
    • ‘He sold a ton of books and videos based on his fearmongering statements that the lights would turn out at midnight on January 1st, 2000.’
    • ‘The bell rang and Joan ran out of physics in relief, loaded down with a ton of homework.’
    abundance, profusion, plethora, mine, store, treasury, copiousness, plenitude, amplitude, bounty, cornucopia
    View synonyms
  • 4British informal A hundred, in particular a speed of 100 mph, a score of 100 or more, or a sum of £100.

    ‘he scored 102 not out, his third ton of the tour’
    • ‘James failed by just three runs to hit his second successive ton when he fell for 97 at Cawood.’
    • ‘Smith then shared mini-partnerships with Heaton and Hotham before reaching his third ton of his highly productive season.’
    • ‘Gavaskar took 125 Tests to record his 34 centuries while it took Sachin 112 Tests to score his 33rd ton.’
    • ‘He said that scoring a Test ton was the pinnacle of his career.’
    • ‘As she lapped up the August sunshine, finished off her red wine and enjoyed Michael Vaughan's classy ton, she asked a fellow spectator which team would be playing a Test at Old Trafford the following year.’
    • ‘Later that summer I scored my first ton for my club side.’
    • ‘Ricky Ponting, who gets up and scores centuries these days with the nonchalance of a man having a shave, was facing the press after his third ton in three Tests.’
    • ‘Thirsk's opener, Simon Barton, hit his second ton in three weeks when he made exactly 100 against Sessay.’
    • ‘Sleep had not scored a ton in the league since 1996 but made up for lost time with an imperious 151 not out.’
    • ‘But Dott gets the first chance to build a break and his brilliant 106 - only his second ton of the tournament - is enough to keep him in contention.’
    • ‘What is more, Boycott scored the ton in an Ashes series and on his home ground at Headingley.’
    • ‘Of the current players, Lara and Tendulkar are in a race to get to 10000 runs, with Lara well in front now on the back of his amazing quadruple ton, the first ever in test cricket.’
    • ‘As Tendulkar fell three runs short of his ton, the burgers dropped along with the jaws!’
    • ‘We put the fish on a stringer after determining that it was just short of the ton at 96 lb.’
    • ‘David Smith was left tantalisingly not out one short of his ton.’
    • ‘Last year's conqueror started the game with a century break and would have ended with another ton had he not run out of colours to pot.’
    • ‘He reached a 102-ball ton at the declaration, hitting 14 boundaries.’
    • ‘Hicks claimed a century of his own to go 4-2 ahead, but O'Sullivan rattled off his second ton to end the first session level at 4-4.’
    • ‘Greg McMillan, Alex Richards and Simon Ecclestone scored half centuries, with McMillan missing out on a ton by just eight runs.’
    • ‘Then, on the fourth day, Mike Gatting scored a quick ton and Ian Botham, of course, smacked Craig McDermott for six off his first ball.’

adverb

tons
British
informal
  • Much; a lot.

    ‘I feel tons better’
    • ‘That's not even an exhaustive list - I'm positive there's tons I've missed out.’
    • ‘There's tons rattling round in there, and it's yet to settle into any form that I can make use of.’
    • ‘Your know, you guys have got tons of great ideas but you won't be able to do anything with them unless you win some elections again.’
    • ‘I could be gone for an hour and we could get tons done.’
    • ‘They love you tons and probably want to know if you're ok.’
    • ‘Hopefully it will take in a lot of money and someone else will come along and do the next one tons better.’
    a lot, a good deal, a great deal, plenty
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • weigh a ton

    • informal Be extremely heavy.

      ‘his boots were completely waterlogged and weighed a ton’
      • ‘He's had to cross the Alps with a backpack strapped to him that weighs a ton.’
      • ‘I'm gonna need a forklift because all the baggage weighs a ton’
      • ‘I bought the Van Gogh and Gauguin exhibition catalogue on leaving the Stedelijk and it weighs a ton.’
      • ‘He was at the head of the queue to get a GSM mobile telephone in the days when they cost a fortune and weighed a ton.’
      • ‘You really need to put him on a diet, he weighs a ton.’
      • ‘The book, titled To Be or Not to Be, weighs a ton!’
      • ‘It was an old fashioned cylinder mower which weighed a ton and needed sharpening every five minutes, but I loved it.’
      • ‘These deluxe mattresses weigh a ton, and you can't get the fitted sheets on without hauling them on to one side.’
      • ‘If you're flying with golf clubs, you no longer have to pack your golf bag in a hard-shell travel case that weighs a ton.’
      • ‘To start with, the bag weighs a ton.’
      • ‘Every reference book seems to weigh a ton.’

Origin

Middle English: variant of tun, both spellings being used for the container and the weight. The senses were differentiated in the late 17th century.

Pronunciation

ton

/tʌn/

Main definitions of ton in English

: ton1ton2

ton2

noun

mass noun
  • 1Fashionable style or distinction.

    ‘riches and fame were no guarantee of a ticket—one had to have ton’
    • ‘Whereas the rest of the comedy takes place in closed drawing, dressing, and dining-rooms, and uses a small cast, the party suddenly opens up spatially into the world of ton or fashion.’
    1. 1.1the tontreated as singular or plural Fashionable society.
      ‘it is the most elegant establishment and half the ton was there’
      • ‘The ballroom was filled with all the fashionable people of the ton, and it left one to wonder if anyone had not been invited.’
      • ‘Raven black curls fell riotously around her face, holding no semblance at all to the painfully tidy styles of the London ton.’

Origin

French, from Latin tonus (see tone).

Pronunciation

ton

/tɒ̃/