# In this dialogue, why does 一米八几 mean “more than 180cm tall”?

My HSK 2 textbook contains the following dialogue and translation:

How tall is he?

He is more than 180 centimeters tall.

The second sentence is not explained in the book and I am struggling to understand it:

1. What is the purpose of 几 in this sentence?
2. Google Translate tells me it means "One meter eight" and a reverse translate gives me 一米八. Why is the book saying 1m 80cm instead of 1m 8cm?
3. Why does the book's translation include the word "more than"? Which character is providing the meaning of "more than" in this sentence? HanziCraft does not list this as one of the meanings of 几, for example.
• Google translate is terrible at translating Chinese numbers. – Ben Jackson Feb 17 '19 at 21:31
• 一米八 actually means 1m 8dm (decimetres). – Victor Mar 12 '19 at 15:15

Therefore for your first question, 几 stands for some number that the speaker can not provide an exact value.

For your second question, the translation by google is not quite correct.

And for your last question, the meaning a few is what is being used in this sentence.

• 无三不成几, '几' has to be at least 3. If it was '一米八多' then you are correct to state it is between 1.81 meters and 1.89 meters – Tang Ho Feb 17 '19 at 18:03
• Thanks for the answer, very informative. @TangHo Would you be willing to post an answer based on your comment? (if you have a citation that would be even better). – JBentley Feb 17 '19 at 18:10

You can regard 一米八 as 一米八分米, i.e. one metre and eight decimetres, so it is one metre and eighty centimetres.

If you want to express one metre eight, i.e. 1.08 metres, it is 一米八 in Chinese.

Similarly, 一块三 means ￥1.3, so it is one yuan thirty fen; 一镑六 means £1.6, so it is one pound sixty pence.

Always keep in mind that when people say “x units y”, it always means “x units y deciunits” in Chinese, although it usually means “x units y centiunits” in English.

zyy's answer is correct. I'd like to add that 一米八几 is usually used in an interrogative sentence. E.g. 他一米八几了？ The sentence is applied when the speaker has forgotten the last digit of the exact number and he asks for it.

• I think 他一米八几？ or 他一米八几来着？ are more commonly used here. 了 in 他一米八几了 does not make much sense to me since it is not associated with any past event – Ben Yang Feb 18 '19 at 19:32
• @BenYang 他一米八几了？and 他一米八几？are nuanced. 他一米八几了？suggests that you forget the last digit, but you are sure about the part 18x. 他一米八几？is a generic one and doesn't have that implication. – dan Feb 18 '19 at 23:01

'几' means 'a few'

However, if the number is close to the next decimal, like 1.87 - 1.89, we usually say '差不多一米九' (almost 1.9M) instead of '一米八几' (1.8 and some cm).

Therefore, in practice, '一米八几' is referring to height between 1.83M and 1.86M

'多' means more than. If it was '一米八多' then it means 'more than 1.8 but not yet 1.9.