Names for large numbers

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Naming very large numbers is relatively easy. There are two main ways of naming a number: scientific notation and naming by grouping. For example, the number 500 000 000 000 000 000 000 can be called 5 x 1020 in scientific notation since there are 20 zeros behind the 5. If the number is named by grouping, it is five hundred quintillion (American) or 500 trillion (European).

When large numbers have many different decimals in them, such as 642 500 000 000, naming them with scientific notation is about the same, but with one difference. Still counting the number of numbers after the first number (in this case, after the 6 there are 11 numbers) you need to include the ones that are not zero in the formula, but after a decimal point. So 642 500 000 000 will be 6.425 x 1011. When naming by grouping, each group of the name of the group. With the same number, it would be said to be 642 billion, 500 million (US) or 642 milliard, 500 million (Eur).

Some examples[change | change source]

Number Scientific notation Grouping
600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 6 x 1026 600 septillion (quadrillion)
765 476 250 000 000 7.6547625 x 1014 765 trillion, 476 billion, 250 million
145 000 1.45 x 105 145 thousands

Forms of numbering[change | change source]

The American way or "Short form" for naming large numbers is different from the European way or "Long form" of naming large numbers. This is mainly because of American finance. Short form numbering is based on thousands and Long form is based on millions. Because of this, in Short form a billion is one thousand millions (109) while in Long form it is one million millions (1012). The change in the United Kingdom to Short form numbering happened in 1974. Today, Short form is most commonly used in most English speaking countries.

Names for large numbers[change | change source]

Scientific
notation
American name

(Short Form)

European name

(Long Form)

100 One
101 Ten
102 Hundred
103 Thousand
104 Ten thousand
105 Hundred thousand
106 Million
109 Billion
1012 Trillion
1015 Quadrillion
1018 Quintillion
1021 Sextillion
1024 Septillion
1027 Octillion
1030 Nonillion
1033 Decillion
1036 Undecillion
1039 Duodecillion
1042 Tredecillion
1045 Quattuordecillion
1048 Quindecillion
1051 Sexdecillion
1054 Septendecillion
1057 Octodecillion
1060 Novemdecillion
1063 Vigintillion
1066 Unvigintillion
1069 Duovigintillion
1072 Trevigintillion
1075 Quattuorvigintillion
1078 Quinvigintillion
1081 Sexvigintillion
1084 Septenvigintillion
1087 Octovigintillion
1090 Novemvigintillion
1093 Trigintillion
1096 Untrigintillion
1099 Duotrigintillion
10100 Googol
10102 Tretrigintillion
10105 Quattuortrigintillion
10108 Quintrigintillion
10111 Sextrigintillion
10114 Septentrigintillion
10117 Octotrigintillion
10120 Novemtrigintillion
10303 Centillion

There is also the number googol, which is a 1 with 100 zeros behind it (10100), and the number googolplex, which is a 1 with a googol of zeros behind it, (10googol). And also the number googolplexian, 1 with a googolplex number of zeros behind it. Googolplexianplex, or googleplexianplexian are still theoretical numbers, but they might have some use in real life.

The name centillion was devised in the 19th century for the 100th "illion", being 10303 in short form and 10600 in long form.

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References[change | change source]

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