Valerie Bertinelli Just Figured Out What 'Lb' Really Means

Despite being a major foodie and recipe developer, actress Valerie Bertinelli only recently discovered the origins of "lb," or the abbreviation for "pound." So, where exactly does it come from?

Unless you're a linguistics fanatic, most people don't really question how our words came to be. But particularly in the world of food, which is a universal language on its own, lots of names have pretty interesting origins. For example, the name "hush puppies" stems from the way fishermen threw cornbread balls at hungry street dogs to "hush" them when the scent of their fried fish caught their attention, according to Delishably. Likewise, an English vegetarian classic, "bubble and squeak," was named after the noise the food emits over the fire when it cooks — the dish quite literally bubbles up and squeaks (via So Yummy).

So what did the word "lb" evolve from, and what prompted the "Wilderness Love" actress to find out?

The word has Roman roots

The renowned television personality figured out that the abbreviation for the word "pound" is actually rooted in the Roman language. She only made this discovery after trying to complete a question in a Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, to which this word was the answer. In a tweet released to her 417,000 followers, she stated that "lb" comes from "the 'libra' part of 'libra pondo' — Roman for a pound by weight ... "

Though Bertinelli was surprised by this fact, if you're an astrology enthusiast, you may know that the astrological sign, Libra, is symbolized by a scale, per Allure. Thus, this historical detail might not be as newsworthy to you. On the other hand, the Roman origins might be surprising considering that the United States is one of the few countries that does not use the metric system when referring to weight (via Statista). Nonetheless, the next time you're ordering a pound of beef when you're out grocery shopping, you now know the history of this word.