Billion






How many is a Billion?


If you are American, it is undoubtedly 1,000,000,000. This amount is known to traditionally minded British people as a
thousand million and by some more adventurous ones as a milliard, though this word has not made as much headway in English as in some other European languages. A trillion is then 1,000,000,000,000, and so on.


If you are British, on the other hand, a billion may be 1,000,000,000,000 (a million million) following the older convention.


If you are neither British nor American, you can take your pick! Both systems were invented by the French but are called British and American for convenience.


Once the business world and the financial press found themselves discussing thousand millions so much, the American' system simply became more convenient, despite a certain lack of logical tidiness. A British trillion is the third power of a million while the American one is the fourth power of a thousand and the American system continues out of sync with the arithmetic. It also makes the profits sound bigger! The American system is now standard use in British government publications and is becoming the norm in many other languages.


10
12 : trillion - American
10
12 : billion - British

10
15 : quadrillion - American
10
15 : thousand billion - British

10
18 : quintillion - American
10
18 : trillion - British

10
21 : sextillion - American
10
21 : thousand trillion - British

10
24 : septillion - American
10
24 : quadrillion - British

10
27 : octillion - American
10
27 : thousand quadrillion - British

10
30 : nonillion - American
10
30 : quintillion - British

10
33 : decillion - American
10
33 : thousand quintillion - British


In the British system, it would also possible to use
billiard for thousand billion, trilliard for thousand trillion, etc., but this has not so far caught on.


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