billion 1680s, from Fr. billion (originally byllion in Chuquet's unpublished "Le Triparty en la Science des Nombres," 1484; copied by De la Roche, 1520), from bi- "two" + (m)illion. A million million in Britain and Germany (numeration by groups of sixes), which was the original sense; subsequently altered in French to "a thousand million" (numeration by groups of threes) and picked up in that form in U.S., "due in part to French influence after the Revolutionary War" [David E. Smith, "History of Mathematics," 1925]. France then reverted to the original meaning in 1948. British usage is truer to the etymology, but U.S. sense is said to be increasingly common there in technical writing.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • billion — [ biljɔ̃ ] n. m. • 1520; de bi et (mi)llion REM. Les termes billion, trillion, quatrillion, quintillion et sextillion sont à éviter en raison des risques de confusion entre les nouvelles et les anciennes acceptions, encore en usage dans certains… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Billion — may refer to:In numbers: *Billion (word), explanation of long and short scales *1,000,000,000 (number), one thousand million, 10^{9}, in the commonly used short scale *1,000,000,000,000 (number), one million million, 10^{12}, in the long scale In …   Wikipedia

  • billion — bil‧lion [ˈbɪljən] number written abbreviation bn , bil. billion PLURALFORM or …   Financial and business terms

  • Billion — Sf eine Million Millionen (1012) erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Neoklassische Bildung. Im 18. Jh. entlehnt aus frz. billion m., einer Wortfabrikation aus frz. million m. Million und bi (Million und bi ), wobei zwei hier die doppelte Setzung der Million… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • billion — now means ‘a thousand million’ in BrE as it always has in AmE, and its old BrE meaning of ‘a million million’ has been superseded. In more idiomatic uses (as in I ve told you a billion times) there is no precise meaning. When preceded by a… …   Modern English usage

  • Billion — Bil lion, n. [F. billion, arbitrarily formed fr. L. bis twice, in imitation of million a million. See {Million}.] According to the French and American method of numeration, a thousand millions, or 1,000,000,000; according to the English method, a …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • billion — [bil′yən] n. [Fr < bi , BI 1 + (mi)llion] 1. a thousand millions (1,000,000,000) 2. former Brit. term for TRILLION (a million millions) adj. amounting to one billion in number …   English World dictionary

  • Billion — (Math.), eine Million Millionen, also: 1,000,000,000,000 od. 1012. Wer unausgesetzt in jeder Secunde 8 zählte, würde, um eine B. abzuzählen, gegen 3962 Jahre Zeit brauchen. Eine Mill. B en (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 od. 1018) ist eine Trillion.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Billion — (franz.), nach deutscher Bezeichnungsweise eine Million Millionen, in Zahlzeichen: 1,000,000,000,000, also 101 , bei den romanischen Völkern nur 1000 Millionen (im Finanzwesen Milliarde). Das Zahlwort Byllion findet sich zuerst in einem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Billion — Billion, in Deutschland eine Million Millionen ( oder 1012); in Frankreich nur Tausend Millionen ( oder 109) oder eine Milliarde, während unsere B. dort Trillion heißt …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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