What is 1000 000 000 in words?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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12y ago

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"one billion"


Once we get part 1,000,000 (one million) we hit a schism in naming large numbers. In the American system 1,000,000 or 1,000 millions is a billion while in Europe this number is usually a milliard or one thousand millions. The Billion in the non-American system (1,000,000,000,000) becomes the Trillion in the American system. In recent years, American usage has eroded the European system, particularly in Britain and to a lesser extent in other countries. In 1974, the government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson announced that henceforth "billion" would mean 109 and not 1012 in official British reports and statistics, the Times of London now follows this format.

The origins of this difference go back to the French physician and mathematician Nicolas Chuquet (1445-1488) who coined the words byllion and tryllion to represent 1012 and 1018. For some undetermined reasons the French mathematicians of the 1600's used billion and trillion for 109 and 1012. This usage became common in France and in America, but the Chuquet nomenclature remained in use in Britain and Germany. However the French decided in 1948 to revert to the Chuquet ("European") system, leaving the U.S. with what then became clearly an "American" system.

To combat this confusion, anyone who uses the words "billion" and "trillion" internationally should make clear which meaning of those words is intended. internet users may see the compound word "milliard/billion" to designate the number 1 000 000 000.

Thankfully in science the names of large numbers are usually avoided completely by using either SI prefixes (giga and tera) or by referring to the exponent. In this manner 1,000,000,000 is giga- or 10 to the 9th or 10 exponent 9 (10E9)

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