One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A unit of linear measure, formerly used in Latin America and Texas, equal to about 33 inches (84 cm).
- ‘Just to make a complicated process even more perplexing, Managuans, who normally use the metric system, will often give directions by employing an ancient Spanish unit of measurement called the vara.’
- ‘The first commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas decided that a vara should be 33 1/3 inches, or slightly less than a yard.’
2A long spiked lance used by a picador.
- ‘Spain settled what is now Texas, and with the Spanish people came their way of measuring distance in varas.’
- ‘A vara is also another word for the lance used by bullfighters.’
- ‘In their right fists they clutched the symbols of their trade, called picas of varas, eight foot long wooden poles capped by four and a half inch spikes tapering abruptly to blunt points one inch long.’
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