What is a Centimeter – Definition With Examples

What Is a Centimeter? 

A centimeter is a metric unit of measurement used for measuring the length of an object. It is written as cm. 

  • A meter has 100 centimeters.
  • 10 millimeters make one centimeter.
  • The centimeter can be written as cm.
  • While calculating the surface area of an object, the unit of measurement becomes cm2.
  • While measuring the volume of an object, the unit of measurement becomes cm3

The two standard tools of measurement are: 

  1. Ruler

RulerA ruler is the most common measurement tool in mathematics. It is used to measure small objects, for example, notebooks, pencils, and bottles. Most rulers come with two measurement metrics, centimeters and inches. Commonly there are 15 or 30 centimeters in a ruler.

Ruler as a tool of measurement
  1. Meter Stick

Meter stickA meter stick is a measurement tool that measures one meter (hundred centimeters) and is used to measure things in meters and centimeters. Things like the length of a table or the width of a bag can be measured using a meter stick.

Meter Stick used for measuring length

You must be wondering how big is a centimeter? To give you an idea, here are some things that can be measured in centimeters:

  • The waist size of a pair of trousers
  • Length of the fish caught
  • The radius of a car’s tires
  • The distance between a person’s eyes
  • The length of a pencil
  • The length of a feather

Relation to other standard units: 

Let’s convert centimeters to other units of measurement of length.

Relation of Centimeters to Other Standard Units of Measurement of Length
Conversion of Centimeter to Common Units of Measurement of Length

Solved Examples:

Example 1: Harper measures the growth of her plants for 5 weeks in millimeters. How tall is the plant in centimeters?

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
10128146

Solution:

Total growth of plant in 5 weeks = (10 + 12 + 8 + 14 + 6) mm

= 50 mm

= 50 ÷ 10 cm (1 cm = 10 mm)

= 5 cm

Example 2: James is participating in the 50-meter dash. Each day, he runs the dash 4 times as he trains himself. How far does he run in centimeters?

Solution:

Total distance ran = 4 × 50 metre 

= 200 metre

= 200 × 100 cm (100 cm = 1 m)

= 20,000 cm

So, James runs 20,000 cm as he trains himself.

Example 3: Theodore measured a line drawn on a whiteboard. It is 400 millimeters long. How many centimeters is the line?

Solution:

1 cm = 10 mm

400 mm = 40 × 10 mm = 40 cm

So, the line measures 40 cm.

Example 4: Elijah has to take his dog for a walk to the garden, which is 32.80 feet from his house. How many centimeters is the garden from the house? How many meters is the garden from the house?

Solution:

1 cm = 0.0328 feet

32.80 feet = 32.80 ÷ 0.0328 cm = 1000 cm

1 cm = $\frac{1}{100}$ m 

1,000 cm =  $\frac{1,000}{100}$ m = 10 m

Practice Problems

What is a Centimeter - Definition With Examples

Attend this quiz & test your knowledge.

1Henry has two strings. The first string is 40 cm long and the second string is 600 mm long. How long are the two strings together

20 cm
60 cm
100 cm
640 cm
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 100 cm
Length of the first string = 40 cm
Length of the second string = 600 mm = 60 cm
Total length of the two strings = 40 cm + 60 cm = 100 cm

2Ava has 5 m of lace. She uses 325 cm of lace for her dress. How much lace is left in centimeters?

200 cm
175 cm
150 cm
125 cm
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 175 cm
Length of the lace Ava has = 5 m = 5 × 100 cm = 500 cm
Lace used for her dress = 325 cm
Lace left = (500 – 325) cm = 175 cm

3200 cm = ______________ yard

2
20
0.2
0.02
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 2
1 cm = 0.01 yard
200 cm = 200 × 0.01 yard = 2 yard

40.05 km = ___________ cm

50
500
5,000
50,000
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 5,000
1 km = 1000 m = 1000× 100 cm = 1,00,000 cm
0.05 km = 0.05 × 1,00,000 cm = 5000 cm

Frequently Asked Questions

A centimeter is a metric unit used for measuring the length of an object. It is written as cm.

A square centimeter unit is used to measure the surface area of an object.

A cubic centimeter is used to measure the volume of an object.

The abbreviation used for centimeter is cm.

Yes, the smaller units than centimeters are millimeters, micrometers, and nanometers.

10 cm is equal to 1 decimeter. Deci means one-tenth and so, decimetre is one-tenth of a meter. 

1 meter = 100 cm 

One-tenth of meter = one-tenth of 100 cm which is 10 cm  

Fun Facts
1. The word “centimeter” is a combination of the Latin word centum, which means hundred, and the French word mètre.
2. The word “centimeter” was first coined in the year 1801 and has been widely used since then.

Conclusion

A centimeter is a metric unit of measurement used for measuring the length of an object. It is written as cm. The conversion of units is needed to solve mathematical problems. To learn about the distance and length, you have to understand unit centimeters and their conversion to other units. Learn other interesting math topics through fun games, worksheets, and lessons on SplashLearn.