Definition of billion in English:

billion

cardinal number

  • 1The number equivalent to the product of a thousand and a million; 1,000,000,000 or 10⁹

    ‘a world population of nearly 5 billion’
    ‘half a billion dollars’
    • ‘Also one of the biggest gambling days of the year with two billion dollars, we know of, bet on the game.’
    • ‘In this case four big donors get big contracts of between half a billion and two billion dollars.’
    • ‘Disney admits that Pooh brings in a whopping one billion dollars a year.’
    • ‘They export more than three and a half billion dollars worth of liquefied natural gas a year.’
    • ‘That said this movie is sure to make at least a quarter billion in US dollars by year's end.’
    • ‘Over the next nine months, we are committed to delivering on a billion dollar assets sale.’
    • ‘Three billion dollars more are going into health, but there are fewer operations.’
    • ‘War with Iraq will cost anything from fifty to a hundred billion dollars or more.’
    • ‘Gates but he's at the point where an extra billion dollars in his bank account probably makes him physically sick.’
    • ‘Today there are six and half billion of us with bulldozers and chain saws and nuclear power.’
    • ‘There is so much talk about the billion of dollars of reconstruction money.’
    • ‘The Chinese admiral after whom the US Navy just named a billion dollar warship, for example.’
    • ‘That would have been like that one billion dollars suddenly turning into one trillion.’
    • ‘He proposed a budget increase of twelve billion dollars over the next five years.’
    • ‘Road accidents are estimated to cost the equivalent of seven billion pounds per year.’
    • ‘He may have remained low key, but his billion dollar construction business has not.’
    • ‘Measurements of infrared light reveal that the black hole has a mass equivalent to three billion suns.’
    • ‘This was possibly the best business deal in history, as he has made a few billion dollars from it.’
    • ‘All of this amounts to eight billion dollars in lost revenue for the federal government.’
    • ‘Right now, more than half a billion of the world's children are living on less than 55p a day.’
    multitude, a great number, a great quantity, a large number, a large quantity, a lot, scores, quantities, mass, crowd, throng, host, droves, horde, army, legion, sea, swarm
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    1. 1.1billionsinformal A very large number or amount of something.
      ‘our immune systems are killing billions of germs right now’
      • ‘Only one surviving bacterium or virus could multiply into billions in no time.’
      • ‘Massive arcologies looming in the distance, like small mountains covered in billions of tiny lights.’
      • ‘Ares Vallis is one of several big outflow channels on Mars in this region that formed billions of years ago.’
      • ‘A vegetarian diet would drastically reduce the amount of crop land needed to feed billions.’
      • ‘It will be in billions and billions of dollars or pounds.’
      a lot, a great number, a large number, a great quantity, a large quantity, host, horde, mass, mountain, droves, swarm, army, legion, sea, abundance, profusion
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    2. 1.2 A billion pounds or dollars.
      ‘the problem persists despite the billions spent on it’
      • ‘It would be the best two and a half billion ever spent for the legacy an Olympics would give to British sport.’
      • ‘The US and Russia spent billions on a dozen or so robotic craft meant to land on the planet and radio back their findings.’
      • ‘An example would be an investment house with assets in the billions, but with only a few dozen staff.’
      • ‘Heaping billions on the rich while ensuring that one out of six American kids doesn't get a penny is dead wrong.’
      • ‘Even divvying up Bill Gates' billions would amount to only a couple of hundred dollars each.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Ryanair is due to take delivery of dozens of new aircraft at a cost of billions.’
      • ‘That's a lot of money, but if this turns out to be multiple billions of revenue, you'd get that back in a hurry.’
      • ‘That leaves homeowners to cover what could amount to billions in repair costs over the next years.’
      • ‘Throughout that month, the Bank of England spent billions ensuring the pound stayed within its ERM band.’
      • ‘The company still faces a dozen cases that could cost it billions more to resolve.’
      • ‘Despite all of the billions slathered on the program, the aircraft's design may be fatally flawed.’
      • ‘Industry watchers reckon that the total amount of money involved could be in the billions.’
      • ‘About half a billion in tax and lottery money has been poured into British sport over the past four years.’
      • ‘We can expect Corporate welfare amounting to tens of billions in the next three years, as with the past term.’
      • ‘If they were applied throughout the UK public sector, he adds, the savings would amount to billions.’
    3. 1.3British dated A million million (1,000,000,000,000 or 10¹²).
      • ‘I still maintain the 'proper' billion ... but then I still write: 'connexion'!’
      • ‘A conventional British billion is a thousand times bigger than an American billion.’
      • ‘To the British, including the Empire and the Commonwealth, billion has long meant a million millions (1,000,000,000,000, or 10 to the twelfth), what Americans call a trillion.’
      • ‘The 'old' billion was 1000,000,000,000; this is now the trillion.’
      • ‘1,000,000,000,000: Trillion. An old British tradition calls this a Billion’

Origin

Late 17th century: from French, from million, by substitution of the prefix bi- ‘two’ for the initial letters.

Pronunciation

billion

/ˈbɪljən/