Ton? Definition, Symbol & Examples

What Is a Ton?

A ton is a unit of weight in the US customary system, where 1 ton is equal to 2000 pounds. The US ton is also called a short ton. Thus, when we say a ton, we mean a short ton.

1 US ton $= 2000$ lbs

It is also a unit of weight or mass in the imperial system of measurement. 

It is used in most countries and 1 metric ton is equal to 1000 kilograms of weight. The word “metric ton” has been derived from the word “tun.” Usually, tuns are huge barrels used to trade wine in most regions of the world.

A weight of 1 ton

Definition of Ton

Ton is a unit of mass in the US customary system, imperial system, and also in the metric system.

1 ton is equal to 2000 pounds.

1 US ton $= 2000$ pounds (lbs) $=1000$ kilograms (kg)

Types of Ton

Ton may refer to several units of measure. Let’s discuss three types, which are all a measure of mass (weight) in different systems. 

A “ton” may mean:

  • the long ton, or the British (imperial) ton, which is 2240 pounds
  • the short ton, or the US ton, which is 2000 pounds
  • the tonne, also called the metric ton, which is 1000 kilograms
Types of ton

Important Note:

1 US ton $= 2000$ lb $= 907.1847$ kg

1 imperial ton $= 2240$ lb $= 1016.047$ kg

1 metric ton $= 2204.6226$ lb $= 1000$ kg

US ton, metric ton, imperial ton

Symbol of Ton

The symbol for the unit ton is “t.’’ (Not to be followed by a period. The dot here is a full stop.)

It was assigned by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. It was accepted as the official unit back in 1879. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has also accepted the metric ton in the USA officially. It is preferred to spell out the unit instead of using the symbol since there are many unacceptable symbols in practice. It is a symbol and not an abbreviation. 

Ton symbol

Ton as a Unit of Volume

The ton is also used as a measurement of volume, energy, and power. The freight itself, or a ship’s cargo capacity, is also referred to as ton. The term “freight” refers to goods that are moved from one location to another by any means. 

Here, ton or metric ton is used as a unit of volume. The measurement ton refers to 40 cubic feet. A 100 cubic feet is known as a register ton. 35 cubic feet is also known as a long ton of seawater. 

The units of Imperial United States Customary, as well as ton or metric ton, both are spelled as ton in English. But they may differ in mass.

Fun Facts about Ton!

  1. In 1985, the use of many imperial units was banned, including ton, by the Weights and Measures Act of the UK.
  1. Are you wondering how much weight is 1 ton? The weight of a full-grown male African elephant may range up to 7 metric tons, which is equal to 15,400 pounds (lbs). 
African elephant
  1. The weight of a small car is approximately 1 ton.
  1. The word “ton” comes from the word “tun,” which refers to a big barrel used in the wine industry.
  1.  A blue whale weighs around 190 tons.


In this article, we learned about the unit “ton” with its definition, types, its relation with kilogram and pound. Let’s solve a few examples and practice problems for better understanding. 

Solved Examples on Ton

1. An elephant weighs 15,000 pounds (lbs). How much does it weigh in ton?


We know that, 2000 pounds $=1$ ton

Hence, 15000 pounds $= \frac{1}{2000} \times 15000 = 7.5$ tons.

2. What is 4.5 tons in pounds?

Solution: We know that, 1 ton $= 2000$ pounds

    Hence, 4.5 tons $= 4.5 \times 2000 = 9000$ pounds

3. Convert into kilograms.

  1. 6 metric tons
  2. 9.5 metric tons


  1. We know that 1 ton $= 1000$ kg

Hence, 6 tons $= 6 \times 1000 = 6000$ kg

  1. We know that 1 ton $= 1000$ kg

Hence, 9.5 tons $= 9.5 \times 1000 = 9500$ kg

4. Convert the following into tons

  1. 12000 pounds
  2. 19000 pounds


  1. We know that 2000 pounds $= 1$ ton

Hence, 12000 pounds $= \frac{12000}{2000} = 6$ tons

  1. We know that 2000 pounds $= 1$ ton

Hence, 19000 pounds $= \frac{19000}{2000} = 9.5$ tons

Practice Problems on Ton

Ton? Definition, Symbol & Examples

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.


A blue whale weighs 190 tons. What is the weight in pounds?

320,000 pounds
340,000 pounds
380,000 pounds
300,000 pounds
Correct answer is: 380,000 pounds
Weight of a blue whale is 190 tons
190 tons in pounds $= 190 \times 2000 = 380,000$ pounds (lbs).

25,000 pounds $+ 33,000$ pounds $=$ ____ tons

Correct answer is: 29
We know that 2000 pounds $= 1$ ton
25,000 pounds $= \frac{25000}{2000}= 12.5$ tons
33,000 pounds $= \frac{33000}{2000} = 16.5$ tons
$12.5 + 16.5 = 29$ tons

What is the symbol of the ‘metric ton’?

Correct answer is: t
The symbol for the metric ton is t.

A shark weighs 4000 pounds. How much does it weigh in ton?

5 tons
2 tons
3 tons
3.5 tons
Correct answer is: 2 tons
We know that 2000 pounds$= 1$ ton
Hence, 4000 pounds$= 2$ tons

1 metric ton $=$ ____ kg

4000 kg
2000 kg
3000 kg
1000 kg
Correct answer is: 1000 kg
1 metric ton $= 1000$ kg

Frequently Asked Questions on Ton

The customary units of weight include pounds, ounce, ton.

There are 1000 grams in 1 kilogram.

The SI unit to measure mass is the kilogram(kg).

The SI unit of mass (equivalent to approximately 2.205 lb), first introduced as a unit of mass for the metric system.

Ton is not an SI unit of mass. However, it is accepted for use in the SI system.