One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A thousand raised to the power of six (10¹⁸).
- ‘In the last decades of the 20c, however, the North American use has become universal, providing the set million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion.’
- ‘The human brain is made up of approximately 84 quintillion molecules that are woven together in incredibly complex strands and ribbons of clumpy gray goo.’
- ‘A pair of flies beginning operation in April, if all were to live, would result in 191,010,000,000,000,000,000 (191 quintillion, 10 quadrillion) flies by August.’
- ‘The mass of the earth has been estimated to be 6 sextillion, 588 quintillion tons.’
- ‘At present, the planet holds more than a quintillion tons of the world's most essential resource, which can be found everywhere from the pulpy interior of desert cacti to tropical cloud canopies.’
- 1.1British dated A million raised to the power of five (10³⁰).
Late 17th century: from French, from million, by substitution of the prefix quinti- ‘five’ (from Latin quintus ‘fifth’) for the initial letters.
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