Why does wire gauge go down as the physical wire size goes up?

I've always just accepted this but why is it that wire gauge goes down as wire size increases? Why not the other way which would make a bit more logical sense?

i.e. Why isn't it that 40 AWG = big wire, 0000 AWG = small wire.

• There is plenty of information on the topic out there. Here is one of first results: falconerelectronics.com/wire-gauge – Eugene Sh. Aug 22 '19 at 19:03
• "This question does not show any research effort" – pipe Aug 22 '19 at 19:38
• @C.Lange Today the minimum research effort usually means "google it and check the first link". When that doesn't help, you can ask here and show what exactly it is you don't understand from that answer. No need to make Stack Exchange into a copy of Wikipedia. – pipe Aug 22 '19 at 21:36
• @pipe Gotcha. I thought the idea was to create a repository of Q&A questions. This was a question that had not been asked here so I thought it appropriate to add. Perhaps I've misunderstood the purpose of this site then. I'll keep that in mind -- thanks for the information! – C. Lange Aug 22 '19 at 21:58
• It's easy, @Neil. The diameter is given by $D_{AWG}=0.005 \cdot 92^{\frac{36-AWG}{39} \ \text {inch}$. Can't you do it in your head? – Transistor Aug 23 '19 at 15:14