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Billion vs. milliard



 
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Billion vs. milliard #1 (permalink) Sat Jun 17, 2006 16:44 pm   Billion vs. milliard
 

Hi, could you please tell if the word milliard is still used and if so by whom? Also, why is that we have to different words describing the same number (billion and milliard)?

Thanks in advance,
Torsten

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Billion vs. milliarde #2 (permalink) Sat Jun 17, 2006 17:20 pm   Billion vs. milliarde
 

Hi Torsten

I'd never heard the word milliard before coming to Europe. Milliard isn't used in the US. The word billion is used to mean a thousand million in the USA.

I found this in the online etymology dictionary:

billion
1690, 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 billion (originally byllion in Chuquet's unpublished "Le Triparty en la Science des Nombres", 1484; copied by De la Roche, 1520), from bi- "two" + (m)illion.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 Fr. 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." France then reverted to the original meaning in 1948. British usage is truer to the etymology, but U.S. sense is increasingly common there in technical writing. Billionaire first recorded 1861 in Amer.Eng. The first in the world was likely John D. Rockefeller.

Amy
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Billion vs. milliarde #3 (permalink) Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:17 pm   Billion vs. milliarde
 

Quote:
milliard

In my native language milliard is conventionally used in any factual context and/or technical writing, whereas billion has slightly journalistic (or poetic :-) ) sense.
I would say, that for me billions sounds as emotional word for thousand milliards :-)

Also, in Russian, multi-millionaire is literally a milliarder.

P.S. What about trillion? Am I right and in American (spoken) English it means 10**12, as well (not 10**18, as it :-) )
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1, 000, 000, 000, 000 = one trillion #4 (permalink) Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:31 pm   1, 000, 000, 000, 000 = one trillion
 

Tamara wrote:

I would say, that for me billions sounds as emotional word for milliards :-)


:lol:

Hi Tamara

If someone were to tell me that I'd hit the jackpot and become a billionaire, I definitely think I'd be quite emotional about that fact. :D

What I find interesting about the usage of billion in the USA is that the French had a hand in that development.
:shock: :lol:

In the USA, a trillion is a "one followed by 12 zeroes".
(1,000,000,000,000)

Amy
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1, 000, 000, 000, 000 = one trillion #5 (permalink) Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:53 pm   1, 000, 000, 000, 000 = one trillion
 

(Sorry, I’ve lost rankes and corrected).

Once again:
(technical, scientific) milliard = 1 000 000 000 (10**9)

In spoken language(s) it is also used as an equivalent for 'billion', which also can mean in some contexts 10**12 (and in some contexts can be used as an equivalent for trillion = ? (...which, in turn, sometimes = 10**18 ) :-)

Wikipedia says:
'The word "billion" and its equivalents in other languages refer to either one million million or one thousand million, depending on whether the writer is using the long scale or the short scale.'

'...however, British media, including the BBC, which long used "thousand million" for this reason, now use "billion" to mean 10**9 and "trillion" to mean 10**12.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billion

'The word trillion describes one of two numerical values, depending on where and how it is used. It is the largest numerical value in everyday non-scientific use in the English language. It comes between a billion and a quadrillion.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillion
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Billion vs. milliard #6 (permalink) Sun Jun 18, 2006 13:37 pm   Billion vs. milliard
 

So, to summarize:

If you use the word million, everybody will understand the same thing. (Hooray! :D)

If you use the word milliard in the USA, basically nobody will have any idea whatsoever what you're talking about. The word isn't used in American English. But the British would understand milliard to mean a number with 3 more zeroes than million.

If you use the word billion, Americans will only understand that as a number with 3 more zeroes than million, whereas the British might understand that as either a number with 3 more OR with 6 more zeroes than million. :lol:

And I guess that's the reason for Torsten's question.

Amy
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