Last modified on 7 July 2014, at 19:39


See also: Billion



From French billion



cardinal number
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cardinal number
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billion (plural billions)

  1. (US, modern British & Australian, short scale) A milliard, a thousand million: 1 followed by nine zeros, 109.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8837, page 74: 
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result.
  2. (obsolete, British & Australian, long scale) A million million: a 1 followed by twelve zeros, 1012.
  3. (colloquial, in the plural, hyperbolic) A very large number.
    There were billions of people at the concert.

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From bi- (two) +‎ -illion; i.e., a million million.

Coined by Jehan Adam in 1475 as by-million.[1] [2] [3] Rendered as byllion by Nicolas Chuquet in 1484, in his article “Triparty en la science des nombres”.[4] [5]




  1. 1012; a long scale billion; a short scale trillion.

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  1. ^ Bibliothèque St Geneviève, Paris, MS Français 3143 - original French manuscript by Jehan Adam
  2. ^ Jehan Adam, Traicté en arismetique pour la practique par gectouers… Parchemin. XVe siècle (1475).
  3. ^ Lynn Thorndike, “The Arithmetic of Jehan Adam, A.D. 1475,” Science and Thought in the Fifteenth Century
  4. ^ 1880 [1484], Nicolas Chuquet, Triparty en la science des nombres (ISSN 9012-9458), Aristide Marre:
       Idem, "Nicolas Chuquet's manuscript", Published by URL accessed on 2008-03-01.
  5. ^ Idem, "Nicolas Chuquet's chapter", Transcription by Michael Florencetime. URL accessed on 2008-03-01.

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