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).
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
2A long spiked lance used by a picador.
- ‘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.’
- ‘A vara is also another word for the lance used by bullfighters.’
- ‘Spain settled what is now Texas, and with the Spanish people came their way of measuring distance in varas.’
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