googol

noun
goo·gol | \ˈgü-ˌgȯl \

Definition of googol 

: the figure 1 followed by 100 zeros equal to 10100

Keep scrolling for more

Google vs. Googol

The verb google and the noun googol are commonly confused because they have similar pronunciations. Google is the word that is more common to us now, and so it is sometimes mistakenly used as a noun to refer to the number 10100. That number is a googol, so named by Milton Sirotta, the nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner, who was working with large numbers like 10100. Google, on the other hand, is the name of a search engine as well as a verb that refers to searching the Internet using the Google search engine. (The search engine’s name was inspired by the number: the founders of Google chose the name to reflect their mission “to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.”) You can remember that the number is spelled googol by remembering that a googol has lots of o’s.

Two related words, googolplex and googleplex, are also commonly confused. A googolplex is the number 1 followed by a googol of zeros; the Googleplex is the Mountain View, California headquarters of Google.

Did You Know?

Around 1930, American mathematician Edward Kasner found himself working with numbers as large as 10 to the 100th power - that's a one followed by 100 zeroes. While it is possible to write that number using standard scientific notation, Dr. Kasner felt that it deserved a name of its own. According to his own account, Dr. Kasner asked his nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, to pick a name, promising the boy that he would use the word in the future. Milton made up the word googol, and so the enormous number was christened. Dr. Kasner kept his promise, and the word has spread and been widely adopted by mathematicians and the general public alike.

Examples of googol in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Google takes its name from the number googol, which is a 1 followed by one hundred zeroes. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Google turns 19. The company is celebrating in doodle form.," 27 Sep. 2017 A googol is itself 1 with 100 zeros after it, which is many times bigger than the number of atoms in the universe, so a googolplex is far too big to possibly write out in decimal form. WIRED, "OK, House. Get Smart: Make the Most of Your AI Home Minions," 16 May 2017

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

First Known Use of googol

1937, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for googol

coined by Milton Sirotta born about 1929 nephew of Edward Kasner †1955 American mathematician

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about googol

Listen to Our Podcast about googol

Dictionary Entries near googol

google

googly

googly-eyed

googol

googolplex

goo-goo

gook

Statistics for googol

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for googol

The first known use of googol was in 1937

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on googol

See words that rhyme with googol

Comments on googol

What made you want to look up googol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!