unit of weight, early 14c., from Old French once, unce, a measure of weight or time (12c.), from Latin uncia "one-twelfth part" (of a pound, foot, etc.), from Latin unus "one" (from PIE root *oi-no- "one, unique"). The Latin word had been adopted in Old English as ynce (see inch). It was one-twelfth of a pound in the Troy system of weights, but one-sixteenth in avoirdupois. Abbreviation oz. is from older Italian onza. Also used in Middle English as a measure of time (7.5 seconds) and length (about 3 inches).