I'm reading through a book of cocktails from 1865 and I often seen the measurement for a given ingredient listed as "do.". What does this mean?


40 1/2 ounces of roast and ground cocoa.
6 2/3 do. ground cardamom seeds.
6 2/3 do. ground Ceylon cinnamon.
7 pints of alcohol, 95 per cent.
20 do. water.


2 gallons of ground malt.
6 do. water, at 142° (degrees) heat.

Or, most bafflingly:

1 pound = 16 ounces
1/2 do. = 8 do.
1/4 do. = 4 do.

  • 1
    I was going to say tablespoon based on the spices but would be a really weird way to measure water
    – draksia
    Aug 15, 2013 at 14:21
  • @TFD But the final example I posted makes no sense if "do." is a specific unit of measurement that is not equal to infinity Aug 15, 2013 at 20:39
  • 2
    @Yamikuronue - What if the amount of do. is 0 ounces. Check and mate.
    – Dason
    Aug 15, 2013 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


I suspect it means "ditto (the above line)": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditto_mark seems to indicate that "do." was an old way of abbreviating before the ditto mark (") became widespread.

  • 6
    do. (ditto) simply refers to the unit of measure of the above line. Some recipes bunch up the ingredients by the size of pale you need to pick them up. Hence the ounces, gallons and pounds are put together. More modern recipes might separate them by dry, wet, spice, meat, etc.
    – MandoMando
    Aug 15, 2013 at 15:25
  • This makes the most sense, considering the question.
    – Ben
    Aug 15, 2013 at 15:40
  • 4
    The second quoted section seems to confirm this too: 1 pound = 16oz, 1/2 pound = 8 oz etc. Aug 15, 2013 at 15:49

I was just looking at a cookbook from the 1860s and had the same question. Googled and found your post, which I think has the answerfor us all!

Making an educated guess here, the answer is in the post you found "most baffling." Seems it was a "key."

1 pound = 16 ounces 1/2 do. = 8 do. 1/4 do. = 4 do.

So, top line sets the rule/measure, which we all know to be true. Then one half "do" is one half pound, and that's why it equals eight ounces (again, we know this is right). One quarter pound would equal four ounces.

Assume, do is short for ditto. So it's a repeat of whatever the immediately preceding measurement was in the recipe (oz, lb, cup, etc.)

Thanks for posting!


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