Names of Big Numbers ...

Most of us know some of the names of "big" numbers ... although it is questionable whether any of us truly appreciate the real/genuine size of big numbers. We sometimes talk in terms of thousands, sometimes refer to millions and, on rare occasion, even reference trillions (since the government sometimes uses the term trillions to reference costs, debt or programs). Numbers actually have names well beyond trillions.

The following is a listing of big number names. The system used in this listing is the one commonly used in the United States and by the scientific community. Other countries use these terms slightly differently ... in other words, naming large numbers is related to where you are and the context in which you are naming the big numbers.

Number of zeros 

U.S. & scientific community 

Thousand 

Million 

Billion 

12 

Trillion 

15 

Quadrillion 

18 

Quintillion 

21 

Sextillion 

24 

Septillion 

27 

Octillion 

30 

Nonillion 

33 

Decillion 

36 

Undecillion 

39 

Duodecillion 

42 

Tredecillion 

45 

Quattuordecillion 

48 

Quindecillion 

51 

Sexdecillion 

54 

Septendecillion 

57 

Octodecillion 

60 

Novemdecillion 

There are ... as one might expect ... many other big number names as well. A "zillion," for example, has come to mean an extremely large unknown number. Some people use "zillion" as a reference to an infinitely big number ... a number so big that we really can't imagine it. A "googol" is 10 raised to the 100 power ... a "googolplex" is 10 raised to the "googol" power.


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