1 [tuhn]
a unit of weight, equivalent to 2000 pounds (0.907 metric ton) avoirdupois (short ton) in the U.S. and 2240 pounds (1.016 metric tons) avoirdupois (long ton) in Great Britain.
Also called freight ton. a unit of volume for freight that weighs one ton, varying with the type of freight measured, as 40 cubic feet of oak timber or 20 bushels of wheat.
a unit of volume used in transportation by sea, commonly equal to 40 cubic feet (1.13 cu. m) (shipping ton or measurement ton)
a unit of internal capacity of ships, equal to 100 cubic feet (2.83 cu. m) (register ton)
Often, tons. Informal. a great quantity; a lot: a ton of jokes; tons of wedding presents.
British Informal. a speed of 100 miles per hour.

1350–1400; Middle English; variant of tun Unabridged


2 [French tawn]
noun, plural tons [French tawn] .
high fashion; stylishness.
the current fashion, style, or vogue.

1755–65; < French < Latin tonus tone

tonish, tonnish [ton-ish] , adjective
tonishly, tonnishly, adverb
tonishness, tonnishness, noun


a suffix formerly used to form nouns from adjectives: simpleton; singleton.

variant of dial. tone one (see tother) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ton1 (tʌn)
1.  (Brit) Also called: long ton a unit of weight equal to 2240 pounds or 1016.046909 kilograms
2.  (US) short ton, Also called: net ton a unit of weight equal to 2000 pounds or 907.184 kilograms
3.  metric ton, Also called: tonne a unit of weight equal to 1000 kilograms
4.  Also called: freight ton a unit of volume or weight used for charging or measuring freight in shipping. It depends on the type of material being shipped but is often taken as 40 cubic feet, 1 cubic metre, or 1000 kilograms: freight is charged at £40 per ton of 1 cubic metre
5.  measurement ton, Also called: shipping ton a unit of volume used in shipping freight, equal to 40 cubic feet, irrespective of the commodity shipped
6.  Also called: displacement ton a unit used for measuring the displacement of a ship, equal to 35 cubic feet of sea water or 2240 pounds
7.  Also called: register ton a unit of internal capacity of ships equal to 100 cubic feet
[C14: variant of tun]

ton2 (tɔ̃)
style, fashion, or distinction
[C18: from French, from Latin tonustone]

ton3 (tʌn)
slang chiefly (Brit) a score or achievement of a hundred, esp a hundred miles per hour, as on a motorcycle
[C20: special use of ton1 applied to quantities of one hundred]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., tonne, unit for measuring the carrying capacity of a ship, originally "space occupied by a tun or cask of wine," thus identical to tun (q.v.). The two words were not differentiated until 1680s. The measure of weight is first recorded late 15c.; the spelling ton is
from 1530s, and became firmly established 18c. Tonnage (early 15c.) originally was "tax or duty on wine imported in tuns." Modern tonne (1877) is the Fr. form of the word, adopted for Eng. use to denote a metric ton (1,000 kg.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
ton   (tŭn)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). Also called short ton. See Table at measurement.

  2. A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,240 pounds (1,008 kilograms). Also called long ton. See Table at measurement.

  3. See metric ton.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
threshold odor number
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see like a ton of bricks.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


unit of weight in the avoirdupois system equal to 2,000 pounds (907.18 kg) in the United States (the short ton) and 2,240 pounds (1,016.05 kg) in Britain (the long ton). The metric ton used in most other countries is 1,000 kg, equivalent to 2,204.6 pounds avoirdupois. The term derives from tun, denoting a large barrel used in the wine trade and named from the French tonnerre, or "thunder," in turn named for the rumbling it produced when rolled. Ton came to mean any large weight, until it was standardized at 20 hundredweight although the total weight could be 2,000, 2,160, 2,240, or 2,400 pounds (from 907.18 to 1088.62 kg) depending on whether the corresponding hundredweight contained 100, 108, 112, or 120 pounds

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The problem is that both books contain an article's worth of ideas and a ton of
The humpback, in particular, can eat more than a ton of krill in one day.
There's a ton of research that shows playing games with people actually
  improves relationships with them.
Wood is heavy enough as it is, but combined with all those bolted-on brackets
  it likely weighs a ton.
Idioms & Phrases
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