One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: the cardinal number equal to the hundredth power of a million, represented by 1 followed by six hundred zeros (now chiefly British). Later also (originally US): the cardinal number equal to the hundred and first power of a thousand, represented by 1 followed by three hundred and three zeros. Also hyperbolically: a very large number or amount.
Numbering or amounting to a centillion.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in The Scots Magazine. From classical Latin centum hundred + -illion.
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