In the PHB, some weapons have a length that begins with "c" and some others don't:

Weapon Type Length
Axe, Battle c. 4'
Axe, Hand or throwing c. 1 ½'
Bardiche c. 5'
Bec de corbin c. 6'
Bill-Guisarme 8'+
Bo Stick c. 5'
Club c. 3'
Dagger c. 15"
Fauchard 8'+
Fauchard-Fork 8'

(image of table)

What does "c" mean in this context?


1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, the use of c. in the Weapon Types, General Data, and "To Hit" Adjustments table isn't defined anywhere in the Player's Handbook (1978).

However, I've always taken that c. to mean circa. While usually employed in conjunction with estimating historical dates, using circa to mean “approximately” isn't unheard of, and Gygax seems to be doing that here.

For example, this would mean that the c. 4' entry for the battle axe's length means that a battle axe is about 4 feet long.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Following the link the OP provided, commenter Jason agrees with you, "I believe c. Stands for the Latin word “circa” which means “about” " \$\endgroup\$ Jun 2, 2019 at 18:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @ExcessOperatorHeadspace Good to hear! (As I am wary of Wordpress links, I instead refreshed my memory of the table by going over to my bookshelf. :-)) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 2, 2019 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Digginging into my vagure memory of style guides from back than, I think you nailed it. But I don't have that one anymore on the book shelf. Might be worth an ask at English . SE. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2019 at 12:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are correct in your assumption...it's basically saying that the weapon is usually about that size, though there might be variations in length plus or minus \$\endgroup\$
    – David Fass
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:17
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ (I am now curious if Gygax's research really yielded the fact (?) that a fouchard-fork is always exactly 8 ft. long.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 3, 2019 at 18:11

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