kish

1

In China, a unit of area, about 154 square meters (about 183.7 square yards).

2

In Ireland, ? – 19th century, a unit of volume for fuel turf, a volume 4½ feet long by 2 feet wide, and 3 feet deep.ยน Wakefield also reports (vol. 2, page 204) that “Turf per kish” cost 2 shillings 8½ pence in Kilkenny in 1790, but 5 shillings 5 pence in 1800.

The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.) derives the word from the Irish ceis, meaning basket, and defines it as a basket. Undoubtedly it had that meaning, but that another sense was a definite quantity of turf is illustrated by their own first quotation, where Arthur Young states in his Tour of Ireland (1780), “A kish of turf burns 2 barrels of lime.” There may also have been a implement for turf-cutting called a kish, since it appears among shovels and spades in Wakefield’s list of prices (page 205) at 3 shillings 3 pence in 1790, the same price as a spade, and significantly different from the price of a kish of turf. If any reader knows of such an implement, please let us know. 

1. Edward Wakefield.
An Account of Ireland, statistical and political.
London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1812.

Volume 2, page 200.

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