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Inches and centimeters are both units of length used in the metric and imperial system of measurements. An inch, abbreviated as "in" or ″, is a unit of length in the imperial and the United States customary systems of measurement. It is equal to 1/12 of a foot and 1/36 of a yard.
A centimeter, abbreviated as "cm", is a unit of length in the metric system, the current form of the decimal system. It is a unit used for measuring small lengths and is equal to 1/100 of a meter.
The conversion factor between inches and centimeters is based on their definition in the international system of units. An inch is defined as 2.54 centimeters. So to convert from inches to centimeters, you multiply the number of inches by 2.54. Or you can also divide the number of inches by 0.3937.
1 inch = 2.54 cm
Conversely, to convert from centimeters to inches, you divide the number of centimeters by 2.54. Or you multiply the number of centimeters by 0.3937.
1 cm = 0.3937 inch
Inches are mainly used in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries that follow the imperial system. Centimeters, on the other hand, are used almost worldwide, particularly in countries that follow the metric system, including most European countries, Asian countries and so on.
A common example of the use of inches is in the measurement of screen diagonals for televisions and computer screens. For example, if a television is advertised as being "55 inches", this means that the diagonal of the screen is 55 inches.
In the above illustration, the rectangle represents a television screen and the red line represents the diagonal distance of the screen, labeled as 55 inches.
Other common applications of inches in practice include:
Centimeters are used more frequently in everyday situations, especially in countries that follow the metric system. This can range from measuring the length of furniture to determining the size of clothing items. Also in science and engineering, centimeters are often used for calculations and measurements.
Compared to inches, the use of centimeters in many cases provides greater precision, due to the smaller unit. In addition, it's easier to work with the decimal system of the metric system than with the duodecimal system of the imperial system.
Understanding both inches and centimeters can be very useful, depending on the situation and the system followed in a particular country. The ability to convert between the two is an essential skill in many domains.