Tiny bit

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A Quentchen (other forms: Quentgen, Quentlein, Quentin, Quent, Quint, Quintchen, Quintlein and Quintel ) is a historical commercial weight that usually corresponded to the fourth part of a lot or around 4 grams .

Drachma , dragme (French), drachma (Latin) were synonymous , whereby drachma was used in Germany only as a pharmacist's weight ( as eighth part of an ounce ) and not as a commercial weight.

Word origin

The above words are derived from the medieval Latin quentinus, the fifth part, from the Latin quintus , the fifth to Lat. Quinque, five, from. The latter are diminutive of Quent and Quint, an old German commercial weight . In the 1996 reform of German spelling , the word -  etymologically incorrect  - is derived from quantum , a designation for a certain amount or a certain number.


Until the middle of the 19th century and partly beyond that, the quentchen or quint was the fourth part of a lot in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as in Sweden, Norway and Denmark , which in turn was the 32nd part of a pound ; depending on the definition of the pound, the quentchen corresponded to 3.8 to 4.4  grams .

With the introduction of the customs pound or post pound of 500 grams, which in large parts of central Germany and northern Germany was also raised to the general commercial weight and thus the national weight, the lot and the pound were largely redefined in 1856/1858:

  • In Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Prussia, Saxony, the Thuringian and other states, the pound was now divided into just 30 lots and the lot now into 10 quents at 10 cents at 10 grain; the quentchen thus had a value of 1.67 grams.
  • In north-west Germany - Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover, Lübeck, Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe - the duty pound was now divided into 10 new lots of 10 quint, whereby the quint was exactly 5 grams.
  • In Bavaria, Frankfurt, Hessen-Darmstadt, Hessen-Kassel, Nassau and Austria, however, the division of the pound into 32 lots of 4 quintals remained unchanged. The same was the case in Switzerland, where the 500 gram pound had already been introduced in 1838.

With the abolition of pre-metric measures (see pre- metric length measures ) in Germany (1872), Austria (1876), Switzerland (1877), Norway (1882), Sweden (1889) and Denmark (1916), the quentchen was abolished as a unit of measurement. In today's language “Quentchen” is a synonym for “a little bit”, “a knife point (full)” or “a touch”, e.g. B. "a bit of luck".

See also

Wiktionary: Quentchen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  • Royal Württemb. Central office for trade and commerce (ed.): The dimensions and weights of Württemberg versus the metrics of the German Empire . Publishing house of JB Metzler'schen Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1871.
  • Hermann Mulsow: Measure and weight of the city of Basel up to the beginning of the 19th century. Phil. Dissertation, Freiburg im Breisgau 1910, p. 69.

Individual evidence

  1. General German real encyclopedia for the educated classes. Conversations Lexicon. Eleventh, revised, improved and increased edition. Fifth volume: Dampier to Eschenmayer. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1865, p. 485 f., Keyword drachma .
  2. ^ Theodor Ickler: The so-called spelling reform - a shield bourgeois prank. Leibniz, St. Goar 1997, ISBN 3-931155-09-9 , pp. 20-22 [1] .
  3. ^ A b General German real encyclopedia for the educated classes. Conversations Lexicon. Eleventh, revised, improved and increased edition. Volume ninth: Konradin to Mauer. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1866, p. 567 f., Keyword Loth; ibid., Volume 11 : Occupation to Premium. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1867, p. 634, keyword books .