The metre was originally defined in 1793 as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. In 1799, it was redefined in terms of a prototype metre bar (the actual bar used was changed in 1889). In 1960, the metre was redefined in terms of a certain number of wavelengths of a certain emission line of krypton-86. In 1983, the current definition was adopted.
The imperial inch is defined as 0.0254 metres (2.54 centimetres or 25.4 millimetres). One metre is about 3 3⁄8 inches longer than a yard, i.e. about 39 3⁄8 inches.