See also: Billion


English Wikipedia has an article on:
English numbers (edit)
    Cardinal: billion, milliard, thousand million
    Ordinal: billionth, milliardth
    Multiplier: billionfold, milliardfold
English numbers (edit)
    Cardinal: trillion, billion
    Ordinal: trillionth, billionth
    Multiplier: trillionfold, billionfold


From French billion, from bi- (two) +‎ -illion.


  • enPR: bĭl'yən, IPA(key): /ˈbɪljən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪljən
  • Hyphenation: bil‧lion


billion (plural billions)

cardinal number
109 Previous: million
Next: trillion
cardinal number
1012 Previous: milliard
Next: billiard
  1. (US, modern British & Australian, short scale) a thousand million (logic: 1,000 × 1,000^2): 1 followed by nine zeros, 109; a milliard
    • 1921 January 24, “National Finances”, in Devon and Exeter Gazette, page 5:
      At the last assessment it [the national debt] amounts to seven billion pounds (£7,000,000,000).
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist[3], 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.
    • 2019 October, Dan Harvey, “HS2 costs rise as schedule slips”, in Modern Railways, page 9:
      However, despite the prospect of HS2 being curtailed and the revelation that the programme is late and billions over budget, for now, at least, work on the scheme appears to be business as usual
  2. (dated, rare, British & Australian, long scale) A million million (logic: 1,000,000^2): a 1 followed by twelve zeros; 1012
    • 1778, Maseres, Francis, “A Method of Finding, by the Help of Sir Isaac Newton's Binomial Theorem, a Near Value of the very Slowly Converging Infinite Series [...]”, in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society[4], volume lxviii, number xli:
      n = 1,000,000,000,000, that is, = a billion, or the square of a million
    • 2000 November 8, Ladyman, Stephen, “[Speech to the House of Commons]”, in Hansard[5]:
      There is a bill to be picked up for cleaning the former Soviet countries of £1 billion. By that I mean a British billion, because when I was little I was told that a billion was a million million and then the Americans said that it was a thousand million. Well, I am talking about a million million pounds worth of clean-up to be done.
  3. (colloquial, hyperbolic) An unspecified very large number.
    There were billions of people at the concert.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

  • trillion, coined at same time
  • zillion, coined after the series million, billion, trillion, quadrillion (modern slang)
  • gazillion, from same origin
  • -illion, from same origin


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See alsoEdit




  1. 1012




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.

Usage notesEdit

Related termsEdit


  • Catalan: bilió


  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. ^ Chuquet, Nicolas (1484) Triparty en la science des nombres (ISSN 9012-9458), Bologna (Italy): Aristide Marre, published 1880
       Idem (accessed 2008-03-01), “Nicolas Chuquet's manuscript”, in (please provide the title of the work)[1], Published by
  5. ^ Idem (accessed 2008-03-01), “Nicolas Chuquet's chapter”, in (please provide the title of the work)[2], Transcription by Michael Florencetime

Further readingEdit

Middle FrenchEdit


billion m (plural billions)

  1. billion, a million-million, 1012
    • 1520, Étienne de La Roche, L'arismethique novellement composee, page 6
      ung billion vault mille milliers de millions
      a billion is equivalent to a thousand thousands of millions