Terminology for Numbers

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  1. Aficionada profile image83
    Aficionadaposted 7 years ago

    I have read that there is some difference in terminology for large numbers between speakers in Great Britain and in the USA.  If I understand correctly, the difference is like this:

                             American                                                     British
    one billion =  1,000,000,000                                 1,000,000,000,000
    one trillion = 1,000,000,000,000                   1,000,000,000,000,000,000

    So, first - is that correct?  Second, what do you call the number in between?  That is, in the UK what do you call 1,000,000,000,000,000  (American quadrillion)?  What do you call 1,000,000 and also 1,000,000,000?


  2. Aficionada profile image83
    Aficionadaposted 7 years ago

    No one's interested in explaining this --- ?  Or perhaps all the UK math nerds are asleep and won't see this until a few hours from now?

  3. wilderness profile image98
    wildernessposted 7 years ago

    What can you expect from a people that have corrupted their own language to the point that a bathroom is a loo and a baby stroller is somehow a pram?  They have left their better descendents (Americans) to maintain the purity of the English language.  (I don't know WHAT happened to those Aussies!)lol

    Actually, I had not heard this.  C'mon, you Brits, what's the lowdown on this travesty?

  4. Aficionada profile image83
    Aficionadaposted 7 years ago

    Owwww, wilderness - someone's going to think my question is something that it is not! 

    I actually do want to know the answer, because of a comment thread that I saw on Yahoo! Science, about gamma rays and a black hole.

    1. wilderness profile image98
      wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Just poking a little fun, but really I would like to know too.  Seems like it could really cause a lot of confusion. 

      I see that in the (proposed) British terminology 10^15 is missing - what would that be?  A Britillion maybe? big_smile

      1. Aficionada profile image83
        Aficionadaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        big_smile  Oh, yes, I knew that you were joking.  But after that other thread-which-shall-not-be-named I didn't want anyone else to think this was intended as a barb!

        The question came up when a Reuters article mentioned how many billion light years a galaxy was away from earth.  A lot of Americans started hooting and hollering, because the math didn't add up.  An AP article on the same subject gave the American version of the numbers.  It became extremely confusing!!  When I was trying to understand it all, I realized that there are some names for periods missing in what I assume is the British system.

        Hey, a Britillion sounds like a great name!  Or, from the joke about George W. Bush, how about a Brazillion!?!  lol  big_smile  lol  big_smile  lol

  5. Aficionada profile image83
    Aficionadaposted 7 years ago


    I'm gonna give this another try.  Aren't there any folks across the pond - or anywhere - who will explain this to a few Yanks here?  I'm just after information.  If you're worried about jokes and stuff, I'd be happy to request closing the thread just as soon as the mystery is explained (if you ask me to).



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