What Is a Firkin, What Does Firkin Mean, and Where Did the Word Firkin Come From?

A firkin is an old English unit of measurement used in winemaking.

It amounts to about a quarter of a barrel.

The word firkin comes from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means fourth, or a quarter of a full-size barrel.

For beer and ale a firkin is equal to nine imperial gallons, or seventy-two pints, and they are the most common container for cask ale.

Firkin may also refer to antique wooden buckets, usually with wood handle and lid, which were used to store sugar and other items.

Other nifty words you may run into include runlet, tierce, pipe, gill, tun, and puncheon.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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