billion

noun
bil·​lion | \ ˈbi(l)-yən How to pronounce billion (audio) \

Definition of billion

1 US : a number equal to 1,000 million — see Table of Numbers also, British : a number equal to 1,000 milliard — see Table of Numbers
2 : a very large number

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Other Words from billion

billion adjective
billionth \ ˈbi(l)-​yən(t)th How to pronounce billionth (audio) \ adjective or noun

Did You Know?

How much is a billion? It might depend who you ask. Billion was borrowed from French in the late 1600s to indicate the number one million raised to the power of two, or a million million - a number represented by a one followed by 12 zeros. However, the French later changed their naming conventions so that a billion became a thousand million (a one followed by nine zeros) and a trillion became a thousand thousand million (or a million million, the old billion). The French have since returned to the older system, but it was this new system that was adopted by American English speakers in the 1800s. In Britain the newer system has seen increasing use since the 1950s, but the older sense is still sometimes used there as well.

Examples of billion in a Sentence

We could see a billion stars in the sky.

Recent Examples on the Web

And listen, Bill, the Iranian regime has not been building roads and bridges with the billions that flowed in as part of the Iran deal. Fox News, "Lt. Col. Michael Waltz on tensions between Iran, Israel," 11 May 2018 As a result, the number of assistant bots will quickly expand into the thousands, communicating with billions of consumers across websites, apps, and social networks. Robert Locascio, Fortune, "Thousands of Sexist AI Bots Could Be Coming. Here’s How We Can Stop Them.," 10 May 2018 Chicago bears $28 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and billions more in traditional debt. Aaron M. Renn, WSJ, "A Mad Dash for City Hall in the Windy City," 22 Feb. 2019 According to the research, this means annual losses stretching into the hundreds of billions. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Could Cost The United States Economy Hundreds of Billions Annually," 26 Nov. 2018 And while Congress has allocated a few billion dollars here and there to address the crisis in recent years, the sum total falls short of the tens of billions experts say is needed to quickly reverse the opioid epidemic. German Lopez, Vox, "Trump just signed a bipartisan bill to confront the opioid epidemic," 24 Oct. 2018 Lundberg and his colleagues have great sway over where Michigan invests its billions, including with its donors. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "U-M board changes conflict of interest rules for investment committee," 29 Mar. 2018 More than 100 union food service workers for airlines at Orlando International Airport plan to protest Thursday for higher wages and benefits, saying Delta and others should use their billions in tax savings to reward workers. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Airport workers call out airlines for $0 tax bill," 14 Mar. 2018 Not until the eighth day of competition did ticket salesfinally reach 1 million, a milestone because local organizers need the revenue to cover their billions in costs. David Wharton, latimes.com, "Olympics has struggled with attendance. But if it makes billions, does filling seats really matter?," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'billion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of billion

1690, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for billion

French, from bi- + -illion (as in million)

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Statistics for billion

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for billion

The first known use of billion was in 1690

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More Definitions for billion

billion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of billion

: the number 1,000,000,000 : one thousand million
: a very large amount or number
British, old-fashioned : the number 1,000,000,000,000

billion

noun
bil·​lion | \ ˈbil-yən How to pronounce billion (audio) \

Kids Definition of billion

1 : a thousand millions
2 : a very large number billions of stars

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More from Merriam-Webster on billion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with billion

Spanish Central: Translation of billion

Nglish: Translation of billion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of billion for Arabic Speakers

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