Million is just one word that describes large
quantity. Billion, another one, means something different in
England than the U.S.A.
A new word invented or coined in the 20th century Googol and a
variation associated with computer search,
both deal with very large quantity; see Size
and Applications there.
Of the many words expressing vast amounts, some occur
from investigating simple ideas. One such situation is at
New Number and
Another is this quotation from Frank Pilhofer's web page
(there, mention is made of Googol appearing in the American Heritage Dictionary):
"Edward Kasner once asked his nine-year-old nephew (Milton Sirotta) to
invent a name for a very large number, ten to the power of one
hundred; and the boy called it a googol. He thought this was a number
to overflow people's minds, being bigger than anything that can ever
be put into words. Another mathematician then shot back with
Googolplex, and defined it to be 10 to the power of Googol" (quotes
But ennead is a word that deals with a much smaller quantity. The
dictionary* defines that as "A group or set of nine."
(*http://dictionary.reference.com/; Lexico Publishing Group, LLC, 2005)
A full discussion of the issue raised here, the words for very large
numbers, appears in Conway, John H. and Guy, Richard K., The Book of
Numbers, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1996, pp. 13-16.
The following very large number was found by Peter Montgomery.
[Further information: see New Number and
It is the
of an integer number n such that n | 2^n -3 (n evenly divides 2 raised
to the nth power, that result then reduced by 3).
755 (see below re V. Ramirez).
wrote about some of these size words
pico, nano, micro, mega, giga, Terra/terra, peta, exa, zatta, yotta
B - Byte. Eight bits, equivalent to one character. See also b.
b - Bit. A contraction of 'binary' and 'digit.' All computer information
consists of combinations of the binary digits 0 and 1 ... Bits and bytes are
often expressed in multiples approximating metric system prefixes: k (kilo,
103), M (mega, 106), G (giga, 109),
T (terra, 1012), P (peta, 1015), and
E (exa, 1018). In actuality, the prefixes refer to different powers
that 2 would be raised to: k (210), M (220), G (230), T (240), P (250), and E (260).
The IEEE has suggested that small prefixes refer to decimal powers
(e.g., kb = 1000 b) and capital prefixes refer to binary powers (eg Kb = 1024 b)
but practically no one is consistent with this. (Source: George
Hernandez accessed 8/15/11.)
The following was communicated by Victor Ramirez, a UCLA senior:
"I found out how to say the large number. I separated it by commas to
make it easier. Here's the names of the places ..." :
63, 1063 vigintillions place
130, 1060 novemdecillions
707, 1057 octodecillions
451, 1054 septendecillions
134, 1051 sexdecillions
435, 1048 quindecillions
989, 1045 quattuordecillions
380, 1042 tredecillions
140, 1039 duodecillions
059, 1036 undecillions
866, 1033 decillions
138, 1030 nonillions
830, 1027 octillions
623, 1024 septillions
361, 1021 sextillions
447, 1018 quintillions
484, 1015 quadrillions
274, 1012 trillions
774, 109 billions
099, 106 millions
906, 103 thousands
755 100 ones
The above material is from an electronic mail message sent by Mr.
Ramirez dated 28 February 2002.
Search led to the following site:
(source of the tables below). A dictionary confirmed one of the above definitions (although there are still variations between English/French and
American definitions and usage).