Difference Wiki

Centimeter vs. Millimeter: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 5, 2023
A centimeter is a unit of length in the metric system equal to one hundredth of a meter, while a millimeter is one thousandth of a meter.

Key Differences

A centimeter (cm) is a unit of length in the metric system, often used to measure small distances. In contrast, a millimeter (mm) is a smaller metric unit, used for even finer measurements.
There are 10 millimeters in a centimeter, illustrating the millimeter's role in measuring smaller dimensions. However, the centimeter, being larger, is commonly used for everyday measurements like the height of a person.
Centimeters are often used in contexts where a moderate level of precision is needed. While, millimeters, being smaller, are used in contexts requiring more precision, such as engineering drawings.
In practical applications, centimeters are used in clothing measurements and household items. Whereas, millimeters are more prevalent in scientific and technical fields, like the dimensions of electronic parts.
In terms of visibility, measurements in centimeters are easier to read on a ruler for laypersons. Millimeters, due to their small size, require careful observation or magnification for accurate reading.

Comparison Chart


A unit of length equal to one hundredth of a meter.
A unit of length equal to one thousandth of a meter.

Size Comparison

Larger unit, 10 millimeters make up one centimeter.
Smaller unit, used for more precise measurements.

Common Uses

Everyday measurements, such as height or clothing.
Technical and scientific measurements.

Precision Level

Moderate level of precision.
High level of precision for fine details.

Visibility on Rulers

Easier to read for general use.
Smaller markings, require careful reading.

Centimeter and Millimeter Definitions


A centimeter is a metric unit of length equal to 0.01 meters.
The book's thickness is about two centimeters.


A millimeter is a metric unit of length, one thousandth of a meter.
The diameter of the wire is 2 millimeters.


A centimeter is a standard unit for measuring height.
Her height is 165 centimeters.


A millimeter represents a very small distance or size.
The thickness of the paper is just about a millimeter.


Centimeters are often used in clothing size measurements.
The seamstress took measurements in centimeters.


A millimeter is crucial in engineering for detailed dimensions.
The blueprint specified dimensions in millimeters.


Centimeters are commonly used in everyday measurements.
He measured the table's width in centimeters.


Millimeters are used for small, precise measurements.
The jeweler measured the gemstones in millimeters.


A centimeter is a convenient unit for short distances.
The gap between the shelves is 5 centimeters.


Millimeters are used in scientific research for accuracy.
They recorded the rainfall in millimeters.


A unit of length equal to one hundredth (10-2) of a meter. See Table at measurement.


A unit of length equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a meter, or 0.0394 inch. See Table at measurement.


(American spelling) centimetre


Alternative spelling of millimetre


The hundredth part of a meter; a measure of length equal to rather more than thirty-nine hundredths (0.3937) of an inch. See Meter.


A lineal measure in the metric system, containing the thousandth part of a meter; equal to .03937 of an inch. See 3d Meter.


A metric unit of length equal to one hundredth of a meter


A metric unit of length equal to one thousandth of a meter


How many millimeters are there in a centimeter?

There are 10 millimeters in a centimeter.

What is commonly measured in centimeters?

Height, clothing sizes, and small objects are often measured in centimeters.

Is millimeter used in medical measurements?

Yes, millimeters are used in medical measurements, like the size of organs or tumors.

Is a centimeter bigger than a millimeter?

Yes, a centimeter is larger than a millimeter.

Are centimeters and millimeters metric units?

Yes, both are units in the metric system.

What is commonly measured in millimeters?

Small technical parts, scientific measurements, and jewelry are often measured in millimeters.

Can I convert inches to centimeters?

Yes, 1 inch is approximately 2.54 centimeters.

How do I convert centimeters to millimeters?

Multiply the number of centimeters by 10 to get millimeters.

Can I measure liquids in millimeters?

Yes, but it's more common to use liters or milliliters for liquid measurements.

Is centimeter a standard unit for global use?

Yes, the centimeter is widely used globally, except in countries using the imperial system.

Are rulers marked in centimeters and millimeters?

Yes, most rulers have markings for both centimeters and millimeters.

Do smartphones use millimeters in their dimensions?

Yes, smartphone dimensions are often specified in millimeters.

Do engineers use centimeters or millimeters?

Engineers often use millimeters for precision in designs and measurements.

How accurate are measurements in millimeters?

Millimeter measurements are very accurate for small dimensions.

Is millimeter used in microscopy?

Yes, millimeters and even smaller units are used in microscopy.

Which is used in scientific research more often?

Both are used, but millimeters are common for more precise measurements.

Is centimeter widely used in construction?

Yes, centimeters are frequently used in construction measurements.

Are centimeters used in map scales?

Yes, map scales often use centimeters to represent distance.

Are digital calipers measured in millimeters or centimeters?

Digital calipers typically measure in millimeters for accuracy.

Are sewing patterns measured in centimeters?

Yes, sewing patterns often use centimeters for measurements.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons